Man guilty of fatally stabbing 21-year-old in Brent Cross brawl

Jason De Sousa was found guilty of manslaughter after fatally stabbing 21-year-old Joseph Olopo in t

Jason De Sousa was found guilty of manslaughter after fatally stabbing 21-year-old Joseph Olopo in the neck during a brawl near Brent Cross. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

A man has been convicted of fatally stabbing a 21-year-old man during a brawl near Brent Cross tube station

Jason De Sousa, of no fixed address, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Joseph Olopo at the Old Bailey today.

The court heard how police were called to a fight in Heathfield Gardens, NW11, on Friday, February 17 at about 7.15pm.

Officers found Mr Olopo, from Colindale, suffering from a stab wound and he was taken to St Mary’s Hospital, in Paddington, where he was pronounced dead minutes after arriving.

De Sousa, 21, was arrested days later but in his initial police interview he refused to answer questions as to how his victim had died.

He later claimed he acted in self-defence.

The court heard how on the evening of the attack Mr Olopo and two other men arranged to meet with De Sousa to exchange documents belonging to each other.

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The jury heard how 21-year-old De Sousa was wanted to have his driving licence returned to him.

In the days before the fight, De Sousa had made veiled threats against the other men and had given them an ultimatum to return his licence.

De Sousa turned up to the meeting armed with a knife.

A fight then broke out in the middle of Heathfield Gardens between De Sousa, Mr Olopo and the two other men who were also armed with weapons.

De Sousa fled the scene after stabbing his victim in the neck. He was arrested five days later in a hotel where in a bid to conceal his identity he had spent the night under a false name.

De Sousa was charged with murder six days after the stabbing near Brent Cross tube station while a 17-year-old boy arrested on suspicion of affray was later released without charge.

Det Insp Shaun Fitzgerald from the Met Police’s homicide command said: “This was a violent attack on a man with his whole life ahead of him.

“The dispute was over documents each person had in their possession and for that small reason, Joseph lost his life.

“I hope today’s verdict will go some small way to helping Joseph’s family to move on from this tragic incident,” he added.

De Sousa was charged on February 23 with murder but the court found him not guilty. He will be sentenced on October 13.