Man jailed for life for murder of young athlete over ‘funny look’

Alex Lanning (PA Media)
15:59pm, Thu 20 Aug 2020
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A killer convicted of knifing a talented athlete in the chest in a row over a “funny look” as the victim made his way to a football match at the Emirates stadium has been jailed for a minimum of 25 years.

Tashan Daniel, 20, had been on his way to see Arsenal take on Nottingham Forest in the third round of the Carabao Cup when he was murdered on the afternoon of September 24 last year.

Knifeman Alex Lanning, 22, and his co-defendant Jonathan Camille, 19, had been on the opposite platform at Hillingdon Station as Mr Daniel and his friend Treyone Campbell waited for their train.

Lanning, from Hillingdon, who had been on licence for a previous knife attack in Brighton, decided to pick a fight after accusing the victim and Mr Campbell of “looking at him” across the tracks.

Tashan Daniel (PA Media)

The two defendants allegedly got angry when Mr Daniel told him to “be quiet and get on your train” when Lanning had asked him aggressively: “What are you looking at?”

During the fight, Lanning pulled out a 5.5 inch blade used by the German military to cut through vehicle windows and seat belts and stabbed Mr Daniel once to the chest.

The whole incident lasted just 34 seconds.

As the pair fled the scene, Lanning was seen by two separate witnesses apparently laughing about the attack.

Lanning and Camille hid the knife beneath paving stones in a nearby housing estate and stole towels from a washing line to wrap around their heads to disguise their appearance.

They were not tracked down until 10 days later in central London.

Jonathan Camille (PA Media)

Lanning admitted manslaughter but was convicted of murder at the Old Bailey on August 6.

Camille, from Fulham, was convicted of manslaughter after telling the jury he did not know his friend had a knife.

Jailing Lanning for life with a minimum term of 25 years and Camille for six-and-a-half years, Judge Mark Dennis QC said: “This was a disgraceful display of violence for which there was no possible justification or excuse.

“You are both comparatively young men, however you are both old enough and mature enough to know what you were doing and to make your own choices.”

He said Camille had willingly participated in the attack and done nothing to restrain Lanning.

Jurors heard Mr Daniel was a talented athlete who trained up to four times a week at Hillingdon Athletic Club.

Hillingdon stabbing (PA Media)

He worked as a photographer and was described as a popular young man who made friends easily and was devoted to his family.

Mr Dennis said: “The deceased had just turned 20 two days before, he was a dedicated and talented athlete and he had a promising future before him.

“His and Treyone Campbell’s lives could not have been further from the violence and aggression which they were unexpectedly subjected to on that day.”

The victim’s parents and sister were present in court.

During the trial, the court heard Mr Daniel’s family had made it to the station as paramedics battled to save his life.

His father Chandy Daniel, 59, said previously: “It is in no doubt, nor has it ever been, that this was a senseless, needless, horrific and ultimately unnecessary act of violence.

“One that our family shall be paying for for the rest of our lives.”

In a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing, Mr Daniel further said: “My son was taken from us so carelessly by a casual and needless act – it has affected the three of us, our wider family and friends and our community.

“It was one senseless act that should never have happened.

“This person has taken someone that they would never be like in a million years, this is not fair and he has robbed us of our future.”

The victim’s sister Oceanna said: “Everything was taken – I lost a brother and I lost my inspiration and the person I could turn to whenever I wanted advice.

“It was a cowardly, stupid and senseless act. Everything I do will never be the same as before.”

Nathan Miebai, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “(The defendants) had no regard for the victim’s life, the pain they caused his family or the trauma of those who witnessed the fatal incident.

“Today, they have received lengthy sentences for robbing a young man of his life and bright future.”

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