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Crimewatch to feature renewed appeal for Islington father’s killer

12:48 27 September 2012

Ricky Smith was stabbed while walking home with his partner

Ricky Smith was stabbed while walking home with his partner

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A fresh appeal for information over the murder of an Islington father 15 years ago will be made on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme tonight.

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The second linked attack

Police in west London were also alerted at 9.15pm to reports of a 21-year-old man stabbed in the abdomen.

The man, Juan Marais, had been walking along College Road, Harlesden, having just left Kensal Rise railway station. He was heading to a party and was carrying some cans of beer in a carrier bag.

He realised someone was behind him and as he turned, a man asked for the time. As he started to respond the man pulled out a knife and stabbed him several times.

The suspect then picked up the victim’s bag and walked away towards Kensal Rise station.

Mr Marais suffered serious injuries to his chest and abdomen but went on to make a full recovery.

The suspect in both attacks is described as a tall, black man aged between 18 and 30.

Officers also say that a black man attempted to retrieve the abandoned items from Conewood Street the following day on October 4 1997.

He made enquiries about where the items were and a resident explained they had been handed over to the police.

The man then said he would contact police to offer his assistance - saying he had seen someone throw the items over a wall the night before - but never did.

Ricky Smith, 25, was stabbed in the chest in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack on a walk with his partner to their Highbury home on October 3, 1997.

The case is still unsolved and new evidence recently linked his killing to another knife attack that happened on the same night, several miles away, in west London.

A £20,000 reward remains on offer for information leading to the identity of the killer.

Tonight’s appeal will feature reconstructions and interviews with the investigation team, Ricky’s family, including his daughter Mikala, and the second victim.

Ricky, a floor fitter from Highbury Park was walking with his partner, the mother of his two children, to a kebab house at around 11.40pm before heading home along Highbury Park.

As they walked near Hamilton Road a man approached Ricky and immediately stabbed him in the chest. he died on arrival at Whittington Hospital.

The attacker ran away along Highbury Park turning left into Aubert Park, right into Avenell Road and right into Conewood Street, opposite the old Arsenal football ground.

Later, property was discovered discarded in Conewood Street, including a blue baseball cap and a hooded dark blue Chicago Bulls branded jacket with red and white shoulder flashes.

Officers also recovered a five-inch lock knife with a three-and-a-half inch blade and a single cutting edge.

The knife had a brown wood-effect and brass handle with a yellow £9.95 price sticker attached.

Police also retrieved two carrier bags from the scene. One was a green ‘Fenwicks’ bag with ‘Brent Cross’ written across the front and the second a black ‘Wilkies’ carrier bag with a white border.

As a result of recent forensic analysis on the items recovered, officers were able to officially link, via DNA, Ricky’s murder with a stabbing that took place two-and-a-half hours earlier on the same day (see right).

Detective Inspector Colette Smyth, investigating from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “I am appealing for witnesses and in particular the man who went to retrieve the items to please come forward.

“I want people to link Ricky’s murder in Islington and the attack on Mr Marais in Harlesden with the description of the clothing and suspect. I can’t believe that over the last 15 years someone out there does not know who carried out these attacks. Please come forward with any information.”

Anyone with information should contact the Incident Room at Hendon on 020 8358 0100 or, to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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