Teenager guilty of manslaughter for stabbing Afghan refugee in Twickenham park

A teenager has been found guilty of manslaughter for stabbing an Afghan refugee to death just hours after he was sentenced for having a knife.

Hazrat Wali, 18, died from a 10cm deep wound in Craneford Way Playing Fields in Twickenham, southwest London, on 12 October 2021.

The 17-year-old boy had appeared at a magistrates' court on the morning of the killing to plead guilty to being caught with a knife two months before. The judge gave him a youth rehabilitation order.

In his murder trial, he claimed he hadn't intended to cause Mr Wali, a student and aspiring cricketer, serious harm.

On Tuesday, an Old Bailey jury found him innocent of murder but guilty of the lesser alternative charge of manslaughter.

The court heard the victim had been sitting with a female friend on the day he died, when the defendant and five other teenagers approached them.

Prosecutors said a girl in the group said they "looked nice together" before the killer stared swearing at him.

Mr Wali stood up and approached him, and the defendant pushed him in the chest, challenging him to "come at me then".

Jurors were told Mr Wali rang a male friend for help, but the 17-year-old pulled out a 20cm black knife.

Mr Wali told his female friend to step away and as the pushing continued he was stabbed in the right side.

He grabbed the defendant's jacket, asking: "Why did you stab me?" before picking up a fallen branch and collapsing as players from a school rugby match looked on.

The jury heard that a teacher gave first aid and emergency services were called, but Mr Wali died about an hour later.

The defendant told the court he had produced the knife as they were "pushing each other" and he wanted to be left alone.

He said he was "scared" when Mr Wali called his male friend for "back-up" and thought he might also have been carrying a knife.

At the time of the killing, he also claimed to have carried a knife because he didn't feel safe on the streets and after incidents in which he, a cousin and a friend were attacked.

He also described being involved in county lines drug dealing after being pressured by older boys in 2020 - who he claimed had threatened him.

The teenager, who can't be named because he's under 18, was remanded into youth detention and will be sentenced on 10 March.