In the Media

Family's anger as teenage woman who arranged boy's murder on Facebook is sentenced to 12 years

PUBLISHED April 26, 2012

Victoria Osoteku had just turned 18 when she joined the 20-strong mob that hunted down 15-year-old Sofyen Belamouadden and stabbed him at Victoria station in London in front of horrified rush-hour commuters.

Osoteku, who kicked Sofyen as he lay bleeding to death, was jailed for 12 years yesterday. She helped to set up the confrontation on the social networking site and bought the £3.99 knife set from Argos which was used to stab Sofyen at least nine times.

Osoteku was also seen kicking the boy as he was helpless on he ground. She claimed she just "nudged" him with her foot "to see if he was okay". Osoteku, now aged 20, was convicted of manslaughter at the Old Bailey. She was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the charge of murder.

Sentencing her to 12 years in a young offenders' institution, Judge Christopher Moss QC told her: "You played a pivotal role in the events of and leading up to that day and must take a substantial share of the responsibility for that."

Osoteku is the 13th teenager to be sentenced over the killing. Samson Odegbune, Christopher Omoregie, both 18, and Obi Nwokeh, 19, were jailed for 18 years each last week for murder. Femi Oderinwale, 18, a pastor's son, Adonis Akra, 18, and Samuel Roberts, 19, were each given 12 years for manslaughter.

Enoch Amoah, 19, and Tyrone Richards, 17, were locked up for seven years for violent disorder. Lewis Sinclar, Olawale Olaribigbe and Melvin Mensah, all 18, and Selassie Ahiaku, 19, all got two years after they pleaded guilty to violent disorder before their trial began in September.

Speaking after Osoteku's sentence, Sofyen's mother, Naina Ghailan, said: "I'm disgusted. She's got 12 years and she'll only serve half." Referring to the sentences received by the other gang members, she added: "I was hoping, - for the mothers of other teenagers - that the sentences would make others think twice before doing something like this. But I didn't see that." Her sister, Souda Ghailan, added: "Other kids know that if they commit something like this it is possible to get the very minimum sentence."

The attack was the result of "simmering tensions" between students at a sixth-form college in Ladbroke Grove, west London, and Sofyen's fellow pupils at a school in Fulham.

In March 2010, the two groups were seen arguing at the station and one youth was left with a bloody nose. Determined to get revenge, the Ladbroke Grove group used Facebook to recruit "troops and weapons".

The next day they arrived at Victoria station at about 5.14pm to confront the rival group. Sofyen was chased into the ticket hall where he was kicked, punched and stabbed repeatedly.

Osoteku told the jury she was just following her friends and was shocked to see Sofyen being stabbed. "I just froze there," she said. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing."