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An image of Uriah Gardner is available here
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A teenager who stabbed to death an innocent 17-year-old boy in a violent unprovoked attack has today (Tuesday, 24 June) been sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment for murder.
Uriah Gardner, 17 (21.5.97) of Mitcham stabbed 17-year-old Fico Dougan in the heart at an address in Croydon on Wednesday, 25 September 2013. He was found guilty of Fico’s murder on 20 May 2014.
Gardner was in the lounge listening to music on his headphones when a short time later Fico arrived at the property to visit his girlfriend who was also there. He joined the rest of the group in the lounge where they watched television.
Soon after Gardner got up and went into the kitchen where he took a large cooks knife and began stabbing Fico who was sat on the sofa watching television.
Fico’s girlfriend tried to shield him from the unprovoked and frantic attack. A two-year-old girl who was also in the lounge witnessed the attack.
The emergency services were called but despite the best efforts of police officers and paramedics, Fico died from a stab wound to the heart. He was pronounced dead at Croydon University Hospital a short time later.
Gardner left the property and returned to his home address in Mitcham.
The knife that killed Fico was found discarded in a drain close to where the attack took place.
Officers attended Gardner’s home address and found him trying to destroy evidence by burning his clothes in the back garden.
He was arrested and charged with Fico’s murder on Thursday, 26 September.
Detective Inspector John Finch, Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Fico was a talented young man with a bright future a head of him. He was from a close family who have understandably been left completely devastated by his death. Gardner’s attack on him was unprovoked and he stood no chance of defending himself.
I am pleased with the sentence that has been handed down to Gardener today. His actions following the murder were calculated and he disposed of the weapon and set about trying to destroy evidence.
I would like to thank Fico’s family and friends, who have all acted with great strength and dignity throughout what has undoubtedly been an extremely difficult time. Whilst today’s sentencing will in no way alleviate their grief, I hope it goes some small way towards bringing them some comfort.
Statement by Fico’s mother, Sandra Opoku on behalf of the family:
“ Trying to deal with the shock of losing our wonderful, beautiful son has been heartbreaking and very, very distressful for all of us. We struggled to find the words to express the pain and sorrow.
“ We prayed for a new day to dawn on us and to take away the sheer misery we have been made to go through.
“ We struggled to find the meaning for the senseless manner for which our Fico was taken away from us.
“ The initial shock of it all has now given way to the reality that Fico has been killed by someone he did not offend and had no chance to defend himself. We are living with numbed emotions because we are struggling to be strong for each other and suppress the pain and sense of injustice.
“ How can we ever forget what happened when we are surrounded by memories of Fico day in and day out.
“ Fico was very unique in his own way. He was very kind hearted, helpful and always wanted to out a smile on everyone’s face. He was at ease constantly expressing his love to me and never wanting to make me unhappy. He was the man of our household and we could always relay on him to fix anything around the house. We now wake up each day wondering what he would have been like now and we ask what was it for? Was there a need for it? Will someone learn from the heartache and distress we are enduring?
“ We cannot find consolation anywhere because the dust barely settles before you hear of another family being made to endure the same heartache and it brings back memories of our pain. We will want to forgive but how can we ever forget? It is far from easy and we will never be able to find adequate words to describe the impact of losing our darling son, grandson, brother and uncle but we will continue to take solace from our Christian beliefs.”