A teenage footballer has been sentenced to at least 18 years behind bars for murdering a man during a "horrific scene of complete bedlam" at Westfield Stratford shopping centre just weeks before the 2012 Olympic Games.
The throwing of a yoghurt pot sparked the mass brawl between two gangs on June 29, 2012, during which Liam Woodards, who had been out celebrating his 24th birthday, was stabbed, the Old Bailey heard.
Nii-Azu Kojo-Smith lunged forward and stabbed him in the chest in front of horrified shoppers.
As the victim lay dying, the fight moved on to Stratford Tube Station where one of Mr Woodards's friends stabbed one of the opposing group.
Following a three-month retrial, Kojo-Smith, 19, of Hackney, east London, was found guilty of Mr Woodards's murder by a majority of 11 to 1.
The father of a 24-year-old man who was stabbed to death at Westfield shopping centre in 2012 has released a statement about the impact his son's death has had on him. Liam Woodards was stabbed by 18-year-old Nii-Azu Kojo-Smith, who was today convicted of his murder.
Liam Woodards died from a single stab wound to the chest. His father Roy said the effect of losing his son had been devastating.
– Roy Savery, Liam Woodards' father
When I received the news of Liam’s death I was in shock. Since that day my life has not been the same. It feels as if a part of me is missing. It hurts to know that I will no longer hear Liam’s voice or see his face again. All the words of comfort and reassurance from friends and family can never change the hurt I feel inside. I had a very good relationship with Liam and his brother. I have fond memories of taking my son Liam and his brother Daniel to football on Sunday. I also remember the family holidays to Clacton on Sea which Liam loved. He would bring his friends along with us."
He added: "Liam was very outgoing, sociable and kind. I was proud to have him as my son. The pain of losing my loving son is so great; I would not wish any parent to endure this pain."
Anselm Legemah, 18, has been convicted of one count of violent disorder, following the fatal stabbing of Liam Woodards in Westfield shopping centre in 2012. He will be sentenced on 7th April 2014.
Tony Caton, 22, of Stratford has been convicted of two counts of violent disorder, in relation to an incident which led to the fatal stabbing of Liam Woodards in 2012. He will be sentenced on 7th April 2014.
A teenager has been convicted of stabbing a man to death during a brawl at Westfield Stratford shopping centre just weeks before the start of the 2012 Olympics.
Nii-Azu Kojo-Smith, 19, of Hackney, east London, was found guilty of stabbing Liam Woodards, 24, during a fight involving two gangs on June 29 2012 following a three-month retrial at the Old Bailey.
Kojo-Smith was found guilty of murder by a majority of 11 to 1 after the jury spent 13 days considering its verdict.
Tony Canton, 22, was also convicted of two counts relating to disorder in the shopping centre while Anselm Legemah,19, was convicted of one count of violent disorder.
Sentencing will take place on Monday.