Search

Teenager claims he tried to stop fight where Beniamin Pieknyi was stabbed to death

PUBLISHED: 17:25 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:24 27 September 2018

Beniamin Pieknyi was stabbed in the Stratford Centre in March. Picture: Met Police

Beniamin Pieknyi was stabbed in the Stratford Centre in March. Picture: Met Police

MPS

A teenager accused of stabbing a 21-year-old to death in Stratford told the courts he tried to stop a mass brawl that broke out.

Alexis Varela, 19, of Lillechurch Road, Dagenham, denies violent disorder and the manslaughter of Beniamin Pieknyi who was attacked inside the Stratford Centre on March 20 this year.

Moses Kasule, 20, of Ribbons Walk, Stratford, Kevin Duarte, 19, of no fixed address, and Mario Zvavame, 18, of Crow Lane, Romford, are jointly charged with manslaughter and violent disorder.

They all deny the charges.

Mr Varela, who moved to England from Portugal five years ago, told the Old Bailey that he did not want to see the violence unfolding.

“I knew something was going to happen so I tried to say stop,” he said.

“People were fighting and I tried to stop more getting involved.

“I didn’t want there to be a fight, I wasn’t happy to see the violence.”

Mr Varela had met up with his friends in Stratford Park earlier that evening, before going to the Stratford Centre just before 9.30pm.

They were joined by Vlayslav Yakymchuk, 23, who has previously pleaded guilty to Mr Pieknyi’s murder.

The court heard Mr Pieknyi was with his friend Alexander Suciu, 25, when they were approached by Mr Varela riding a bike with his cousin, Mr Duarte, on the handlebars.

While the victim entered Poundland to buy drinks, the riders approached Mr Suciu again. CCTV footage shows Mr Suciu approach the figures on the bike, who dismount.

A fight broke out soon after between the whole group, with Mr Pieknyi leaving Poundland to come to his friend’s aid. Footage shows Mr Yakymchuk taking Mr Suciu’s glasses, which Mr Varela stamps on.

A security arrived to break up the fight, which continued further down the shopping centre, outside Subway, where Mr Piekyni was stabbed.

Mr Pieknyi, a takeaway worker who’d come to England from Romania just months before, was pronounced dead an hour later. He died from a stab wound to his chest.

Mr Varela, who attended Barking and Dagenham College until last year, said he wasn’t aware anyone had a knife.

“No one had mentioned a knife,” he said.

“I panicked and ran away.

“I didn’t want this to happen.”

The trial continues.

Related articles

Latest Romford News Stories

42 minutes ago

More than 950 homes in Upminster were plunged into darkness last night after a power cut in the area.

07:17

A Hornchurch counselling charity has been awarded more than £100,000 from the Mayor of London to talk to every school in Havering about knife crime, and is hoping to intervene with youngsters before they take the wrong path that leads to a life of crime.

Yesterday, 21:16

Two handguns, a loaded shotgun and £50,000 of suspected ill-gotten cash have been seized by police at an Upminster address.

A disgraced former police officer who was jailed for blackmailing prostitutes worked at Queen’s Hospital for a year after getting out of prison and never underwent a compulsory background check, the Recorder can reveal.

Yesterday, 14:00

Thieves stole Christmas decorations costing hundreds of pounds from the gardens of two Romford homes.

Yesterday, 13:00

Residents who paid more than £200,000 for mobile homes are demanding their money back after the planning inspectorate found their homes had been illegally built.

Yesterday, 12:00

A family from Collier Row is raising funds for a meningitis charity with their special Christmas lights display.

Yesterday, 10:40

St Edward’s Academy in Romford celebrated the hard work and dedication of its support staff by hosting a Stars in our Schools event.

PROMOTED CONTENT

From November, The Mercury in Romford begins to celebrate Christmas. The mall has plenty of gift ideas, fun events and activities for everyone

Vauxhall has completed its sport utility vehicle range with the third, and largest, Grandland X. We put the SUV, now available at Tony LeVoi in Romford, to the test.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

News from your area

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now