Killer who stabbed teen to death at knife awareness course ‘in cruel irony’ jailed

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A young offender who stabbed another teenager to death at a knife awareness course has been jailed for life.

Vladimir Nachev, 18, stabbed Hakim Sillah several times at the Hillingdon Civic centre in Uxbridge, west London, in a brutal attack on November 9, 2019.

Mr Sillah, also 18, was taken to the Hillingdon hospital, but died at 5.30pm the same day.

Isleworth Crown Court previously heard how the training course was for those aged under 18 with a previous offence related to weapons and that risk assessments had been carried out on all those who attended.

Nachev claimed his actions were in self-defence, but was found guilty of murder in August.

Judge Pushpinder Saini QC said Mr Sillah’s death had followed an “unprovoked attack of exceptional violence”.

Sentencing Nachev on Monday, Judge Saini said: “Having been dropped off by car by his mother Hakim was early for the session.

“You came to the course carrying a concealed Rambo knife.

“The cruel irony of the fact you took with you, and used, this weapon on a course which was intended to give you an awareness of weapons hardly needs stating.

“Hakim had done nothing and said nothing to cause you to attack him.

“Having murdered Hakim you calmly left the centre, concealing the weapon in your trousersā€¦ you were clearly distressed about what you had done.”

Judge Saini added: “You have an obsession with knivesā€¦ and with drill rap lyrics, some of which you compose, which extol the virtues of using knives as part of what is clearly a misguided macho gang culture.”

Nachev, who was dressed in a black shirt and grey tie, smirked as he received his sentence, provoking emotional responses from Mr Sillah’s family and friends in the courtroom.

Judge Saini paid tribute to the “great bravery” shown by Mr Sillah’s mother, Saranbah Sillah, and his 14-year old sister, Sally, who both read out victim impact statements in person.

“Hakim was my first son and he was my friend, he was my companion,” said Ms Sillah.

“10 days from now he would have been 19-years old and he was waiting so much for this time in his life.

“We had so much fun and he was such a pleasure to be around. As a mum I looked up to him, we talked about everything.

“This is a heavy burden for me to carry, and one that I will carry for the rest of my life.”

She added that Mr Sillah had played a “major role” within his family and had shared an “unbreakable bond” with his younger siblings.

In her own statement Mr Sillah’s 14-year-old sister, Sally, said the incident had affected her in an “indescribable way,” adding she could “barely function without him”.

“You don’t know Hakim, my big brother, my protector,” she said.

“The day I found out everything stopped. This was my biggest fear in my heart, losing a family member.

“It feels like there’s something missing.

“My family always say Hakim, couldn’t function without me. Now I can barely function without him.

Addressing her brother, she added: “You put a smile on my face all the time and your smile keeps on repeating in my head.”

Ms Sillah said organisations that work with young people should revisit their “key roles” to ensure they are putting young lives first.

Speaking to the PA news agency, she said: “I honestly think the mandate in which some of these organisations operate, the civic centres, the social service, all these programmes need to be revisited.

“They need to look at what their key role is and what they are doing and how they are actually supposed to be reaching out to young people.

“The work that they do, is it really working?

“Are they actually covering the areas that need to be covered? Are they actually caring about these young people? Are they putting their lives first?

“In my own case, the unfortunate circumstances in which I sit here now, if so many things had been done it would not have been this way.”

She added that better risk assessments should have been performed prior to the incident and that the security in place at the centre was inadequate.

Nachev, from Harlington, Hayes, must serve a minimum sentence of 18 years before being considered for parole.