‘Ferocious’ knife attack killed random stranger in Oxford Street, court hears
A day tripper killed a stranger in a “ferocious” knife attack on London’s busy Oxford Street, a court has heard.
Tedi Fanta, 27, allegedly brandished a blade and jumped onto 60-year-old Stephen Dempsey from behind just before 8pm on July 1 2021.
Two passing skateboarders hit the defendant with their boards in a bid to disarm him, the Old Bailey was told.
They then helped to restrain the attacker until armed police arrived while other members of the public tended to the victim, jurors heard.
When police arrived, the defendant was noted to be speaking in an “incoherent manner” and had a head injury from a blow from a skateboard which was checked in hospital.
Mr Dempsey did not stand a chance. He could offer no resistance. He was unarmed and attacked from behind.
Caroline Carberry KC
Mr Dempsey had suffered four knife wounds and died in hospital later that night from a stab wound in the chest.
Jurors were shown graphic CCTV footage of the attack outside the Microsoft store in the heart of London’s shopping district.
Prosecutor Caroline Carberry KC said it was a “frenzied and fatal attack”.
She told jurors there was no doubt Fanta was the person who attacked Mr Dempsey.
She said: “He is seen carrying out a ferocious, random and unprovoked attack on a helpless and unsuspecting member of the public.
“His victim could have been anyone who was in close proximity to him during the course of that day in central London. Sadly for Stephen Dempsey and his family it was him.”
That morning, Fanta had allegedly armed himself and boarded a London-bound train from Swansea in south Wales, where he was living at the time.
His Great Western Railway train arrived into Paddington Station at just before 9am.
Just after 2pm, the defendant, wearing combat trousers and a red top, turned up at the Ethiopian Embassy on Kensington Road before making his way to Oxford Street at around 4.40pm.
Ms Carberry said: “He was captured on CCTV standing outside the Microsoft store at 7.58pm.
“As Mr Dempsey walked past the Microsoft store and the defendant, the defendant brandished a knife from his pocket, stepped forward towards Mr Dempsey and attacked him from behind with the knife.
“The attack began on the pavement but spilled out onto the road.”
She said Fanta stabbed Mr Dempsey repeatedly as the skateboarders tried to stop him.
Jurors were told: “Mr Dempsey did not stand a chance. He could offer no resistance. He was unarmed and attacked from behind.
“You will hear the statements of some of those members of the public who witnessed what took place and who bravely tried to stop it.”
Fanta was charged with murder and possessing a bladed article.
Ms Carberry said that because he has been deemed unfit to stand trial, jurors did not have to determine his guilt, only whether they are sure he committed the acts charged against him.
The trial of the facts at the Old Bailey continues.