Zion Chiata to serve minimum of 21 years for killing Gavin Garraway
Chiata (right) seen with knife stabbing Gavin Garraway
A man from the Patmore Estate in Battersea has been jailed for a minimum of 21 years for killing Gavin Garraway in a frenzied attack.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter but this was not accepted by the prosecution a retrial was necessary. The jury was shown a video of the killing in which Chiata along with Tishuan Panton attacked 40-year-old Mr Garraway in his car.
20-year-old Zion Chiata was attending sixth form college at the time of the murder and was on his lunch break. 22-year-old Panton of Cottage Grove, SW9, was convicted of Mr Garraway’s manslaughter following the first trial. His sentencing was postponed pending the outcome of Chiata’s retrial.
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.
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 15-second attack not only ended Gavin’s life, but also sentenced his family to a lifetime of sadness and loss.
“This punishment shows the consequences of carrying a knife. I am relieved the jury discounted Chiata’s defence that he simply ‘lost control’ and rightly convicted him of a terrible murder. I hope this sentence gives a tiny bit of relief to Gavin’s family who have not only lost him because of the reckless behaviour of his killers; but have also had to endure the pain 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. You will get caught, your life and the lives of those you love will be bitterly ruined, and you will lose your freedom. No good can come of it.”
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.
July 8, 2020