'Devoted father' was not a member of feuding drill music gangs
Chiata (right) seen with knife stabbing Gavin Garraway
A man from the Patmore Estate in Battersea has been convicted of the murder of Gavin Garraway last year.
20-year-old Zion Chiata was attending sixth form college at the time of the murder and was on his lunch break when, along with Tishuan Panton, he attacked 40-year-old Mr Garraway in his car.
The verdict is believed to be the first handed down at the Old Bailey since the beginning of lockdown. It was a retrial after the defence had withdrawn an earlier guilty plea to a charge of manslaughter in October 2019. Chiata had been found guilty of offensive weapon at that time. 22-year-old Panton of Cottage Grove, SW9, was also convicted of Mr Garraway’s manslaughter following the first trial. His sentencing had been postponed pending the outcome of Chiata’s retrial. Both men will now be sentenced together on a date to be confirmed.
At 2:36pm on 29 March 2019, Mr Garraway was driving in his VW Golf with his brother through the Clapham Common area before turning onto Clapham Park Road when Chiata and Panton – who were on foot - suddenly began to pursue them.
Anticipating an attack on himself and his brother, Mr Garraway tried to turn his car around; however in doing so he crashed into a traffic light bringing the vehicle to a stop. Panton and Chiata charged up to the car, the latter pulling out a large knife and then proceeded to stab Mr Garraway three times through the open window.
At the same time Panton used the crutch he had with him and began to hit Mr Garraway and his car. During the attack, Mr Garraway’s brother tried his best to defend him with a crutch he too had on his person.
The violence lasted no longer than fifteen seconds with Chiata then fleeing the scene, while Panton remained at the vehicle for a further five seconds continuing to attack Mr Garraway with the crutch.
A police officer arrived on scene a few minutes after the attack where he, with the support of some off-duty nurses, administered first aid. Paramedics arrived a short time after this, however, the injuries were too severe and he was pronounced dead at 3:28pm. A post-mortem examination later gave the cause of death as a stab wound to the abdomen.
CCTV was taken from the area where the attack took place. The footage clearly captured both Chiata and Panton before, during and after the attack. Officers also interviewed a number of witnesses who had been present. Chiata was arrested at his home a few days later and forensic evidence was found that linked him to the crime scene.
Mr Garraway has been described as a devoted father and it is believed he was caught up in a dispute between gangs of which he was not a member. The killing is believed to have resulted from a feud between two gangs in the area, the Clapton Gang, who are based around Clapham High Road and the 67 gang from the Brixton area. Some of the rivalry was played out in drill music which was posted on YouTube. Mr Garraway’s younger brother Melique had performed in videos made by the 67 gang whereas Chiata was a Clapton Gang member and had appeared in their videos on of which had been viewed more than 700,000 times on YouTube. A 67 gang video featuring members acting disrespectfully on estates which were part of the Clapton Gang’s territory were viewed over 4 million times.
Detective Inspector Jamie Stevenson, who led the investigation said: “This appalling attack was caught on CCTV and shows the consequences of carrying a knife. I am pleased the jury discounted Chiata’s defence that he simply ‘lost control’ and convicted him of murder. I hope today’s outcome gives some form of closure to Gavin’s family who have not only had to suffer his loss due to the reckless behaviour of his killers; but have also had to endure the nightmare of two trials.
“I urge anyone planning on taking a knife onto the streets of London to look at this case as an example of the very real possible consequences of that decision.”
Anyone with information about crime can contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. It is independent of police, and is 100% anonymous. They do not ask your name and cannot trace your call or IP address. If you or someone you know is involved in knife crime and you want help or support, visit: www.knifefree.co.uk.
June 9, 2020