Collier Row teenager jailed over fatal stabbing of 15-year-old

Romaine Williams-Reid, 18, of Erith Crescent, Collier Row, has been convicted of manslaughter. Pictu

Romaine Williams-Reid, 18, of Erith Crescent, Collier Row, has been convicted of manslaughter. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

A teenager from Collier Row is among three to have been jailed for killing a 15-year-old aspiring musician in a pre-planned gang attack.

Tasha�n Aird, 15, died after he was stabbed in Hackney. Picture: Met Police

Tasha�n Aird, 15, died after he was stabbed in Hackney. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Tashaun Aird was knifed nine times in the chest and back after he and his friends fled through a Hackney park on the evening of May 1 last year.

Following an Old Bailey trial, a 16-year-old youth was found guilty of murdering Tashaun and wounding a 16-year-old boy with intent.

Judge Angela Rafferty QC said he “showed no mercy” as she sentenced him to life with a minimum term of 17 years, with a further four years to run concurrently.

Eighteen-year-old Romaine Williams-Reid, of Erith Crescent, Collier Row, played a lesser role in the killing and was jailed for 12 years for manslaughter and two-and-a-half years, concurrent, for wounding.

Another 16-year-old youth was jailed for 12 years for Tashaun’s manslaughter and four years, concurrent, for wounding with intent.

The judge told the defendants: “A group of unarmed young people posing no threat whatsoever to you were attacked by you in the park.”

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She said the “planned and targeted attack” was in full view of members of the public and involved the use of weapons including a Samurai sword and zombie knife.

Tashaun was said to have had a “passion for music” and his family only learned he had been accepted by a music college after his death.

The judge said: “It may be that his music was somehow connected to this attack but it is unlikely we will ever truly know.”

Neither victim was connected with the targeted gang, she said, adding: “This was a terrible waste of a young life.”

A fourth defendant, 16-year-old Caden Stewart, became unwell in custody and was transferred to hospital where he died on June 27, 20 days after he was charged with murder.

During the trial, prosecutor Julian Evans had told how Tashaun, who had been attacked before, was socialising with friends in Somerford Gardens in Hackney.

Earlier that day, he had told Williams-Reid that he was not part of the Red Pitch Hackney-based gang, jurors heard.

Williams-Reid then spoke to Stewart who set off in an Uber taxi with the other defendants, the court heard.

Mr Evans said Williams-Reid had been keeping watch on Tashaun and his friends before the others arrived “intent on violence”.

As the targeted group scattered, the two youths, both armed with blades, ran after Tashaun and one of them repeatedly “lunged” at him.

Meanwhile, Stewart, who was said to have had a sword, chased after the 16-year-old victim and stabbed him in the back, the court heard.

Tashaun managed to get out of the park but was stabbed again by the same youth, who was convicted of murder.

The youths made off in the Uber and Williams-Reid cycled away on the injured boy’s bike, jurors were told.

The 16-year-old victim, bleeding from a wound in his back, sought help in a nearby shop and went on to make a full recovery.

Tashaun managed to walk a short distance before he collapsed face-down on the floor. He was pronounced dead 45 minutes later.

A post-mortem examination found nine wounds, with a fatal 11cm-deep stab wound to the chest.

Williams-Reid and the two boys, from Hackney, denied all the charges against them.

Tashaun’s family said: “Our beautiful and talented Tashaun was just 15 years old when he was attacked and murdered, in what was a senseless and unprovoked attack on him.

“There can be no comfort to us other than these individuals being off the streets and out of harm’s way.

“However, no words could ever describe the pain, numbness and sheer anguish that we as a family have felt since he was taken away from us so suddenly on May 1.

“No family should be put through what we have experienced these past seven months, you hear about knife crime and never expect it to be one of your own.”