Destroying any possible fingerprint and DNA evidence
Three men have been convicted of setting a car alight that was used in the murder of 21-year-old Malachi Brooks.
At the Old Bailey yesterday (August 2nd) Abdul Popatpotra, 27, of Totterdown Street in Tooting was found guilty of arson and not guilty of perverting the course of justice and Ashrafur Rahman, 23, of no fixed address pleaded guilty to arson along with perverting the course of justice at the first day of the trial.
Another man Joel Preddie, 20, of Chantry Way in Mitcham was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
All three men will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Thursday 9 August
The court heard that police were called at just after 1am on March 28 2017, to reports of a man stabbed in Surrey Lane. Malachi Brooks from Battersea was suffering from stab injuries and sadly was pronounced dead at the scene at 1.55am.
A post mortem at St George's Hospital gave the cause of death as a stab wound to the heart.
Enquiries established that Malachi's attackers had been driven to Surrey Lane to commit the murder and then driven from the scene.
CCTV footage obtained by detectives showed that the car used in the attack, a Nissan Micra, was abandoned on Weir Road industrial estate at 1.20am on the night of the murder and was set alight 24 hours later.
The burning of this car destroyed any possible evidential fingerprint and DNA connection being established between the vehicle and the murderers.
Detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command then began extensive enquiries to establish who was responsible for burning the car.
The Micra had been stolen from an address in Mitcham during the evening of 23 March. CCTV showed that in the days leading up to the murder Preddie was using the Micra over a period of days.
The court then heard that between 2.45am and 3.25am on 29 March, Popatpotra made a series of calls to the mobile phone of a cab driver. The cab driver informed officers that he then picked up two men who came out of Keppel Court in Tooting. He said that the men got into his car and asked to be taken to a petrol station on Balham High Road. One of the men filled a petrol container with petrol.
Those men were later identified as Rahman and Preddie.
They left the petrol station and asked the cab driver to be driven to Durnsford Road, which leads to the industrial estate at Weir Road where the Micra had been left the night before. It was then set alight at around 4.10am.
Police are continuing to seek those responsible for Malachi's murder. Anyone with any information is asked to call the incident room on 020 8721 4868 or contact police on 101. To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.
August 3, 2018