Two guilty of killing rapper who featured in BBC teen knife crime documentary

Abiola Akerele

Abiola Akerele died in Stondon Walk, East Ham on December 29 after being fatally stabbed. - Credit: Met Police

Two men have been found guilty of killing a rapper who once featured in a knife crime documentary.

Abiola Akerele, 28, who went by the name Nayta, had resorted to selling cannabis after being made redundant from his job as a travel agent during the pandemic.

He was stabbed to death on grass outside his house in Stondon Walk, East Ham, on December 29, 2020.

Junaid Sulaiman, 22, of Prince Regent Lane in Plaistow, and Rayhan Ali, 19, from Abbots Road in East Ham, were cleared of murder at the Old Bailey today (Tuesday, July 19).

However, they were found guilty of manslaughter following a jury trial.

Two more defendants, Saeed Farouk, 23, of Macaulay Road in East Ham, and Harry Ehibor, 21, of Chalk Farm Road in Camden, were cleared of all charges.

It can now be reported that, as a teenager in 2007, Mr Akerele featured in the BBC Panorama documentary, On A Knife Edge.

In the film, which explored gang violence, his mother spoke of her fears for her sons.

Mr Akerele also described witnessing the build-up to one killing during the documentary.

He told Jeremy Vine: “Don’t wanna get myself in, cos once you’re in it’s hard to get out. When you join a clique you gain their enemies as well.”

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Prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC told jurors that, on the day Mr Akerele was killed, the defendants’ group had gone to the victim’s home to buy cannabis.

A commotion ensued as hooded males with their faces covered, kicked, punched and stabbed the victim as he crouched down to protect himself.

He was helped inside by his girlfriend but died at the scene, having been stabbed in the chest and neck.

The defendants admitted being involved in an altercation with Mr Akerele, but they claimed to have acted in self-defence after the victim produced a knife.

Sulaiman accepted taking him to the ground and using the blade against Mr Akerele.

Ali admitted kicking and punching in an effort to disarm him.

The music-loving Mr Akerele had created a recording studio at his home, publishing under the name Nayta.

Jurors heard he was worried about getting paid and when police searched his home they uncovered weighing scales and bags of cannabis, indicating his involvement in selling drugs.

Sulaiman and Ali have been remanded in custody for a report on dangerousness to be prepared ahead of sentencing in September.