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Nashon Esbrand murder: Dillon Zambon and Jhon Berhane found guilty of Canonbury killing

PUBLISHED: 15:49 26 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:30 26 March 2018

Nashon Esbrand was stabbed to death in Mitchison Road, Canonbury, in August.

Nashon Esbrand was stabbed to death in Mitchison Road, Canonbury, in August.

Family of Nashon Esbrand

Two young men – Dillon Zambon and Jhon Berhane – were this afternoon convicted by an Old Bailey jury of murdering new dad Nashon Esbrand in Canonbury.

Nashon Esbrand was stabbed to death in Mitchison Road, Canonbury, in August.Nashon Esbrand was stabbed to death in Mitchison Road, Canonbury, in August.

Following the verdict, Nashon’s brother Mark Barton told the Gazette from the court: “That was so tense. It’s a relief. But I still don’t feel satisfied. He’s my brother. I miss him.

“I feel happy for my family but there’s no comfort. It’s only part of the healing process.”

Nashon, 27, was stabbed to death by a 15-year-old boy (“Defendant 3”, who is now 16) yards from his parents’ house in Mitchison Road on August 24. Nashon had only just become a dad for the first time.

Defendant 3 admitted murder earlier this month, but Zambon, 20, and Berhane, 18, were also charged with murder based on joint enterprise. They helped chase and corner Nashon.

Zambon and Berhane denied the charge at a trial. After today’s conviction, they and Defendant 3 are scheduled to be sentenced on April 27.

During a two-week trial, which began on March 12, the jury had been told by prosecutor Hugh Davies that Nashon bumped into Zambon and Jack Stevens – who was alleged to have been part of the crime but is said to be in hiding – by chance.

They had cycled past and spotted Nashon at the junction of Ecclesbourne Road and Rotherfield Street. CCTV footage showed Nashon running away through the side streets and into Essex Road, where the two cyclists followed him.

By the time he reached Mitchison Road, there were five males – said to be Zambon, Berhane, Defendant 3, Stevens and another male who has not been identified – chasing him. He was cornered and in desparation tried to access one of his parents’ neighbours’ house.

Police taped off Mitchison Road, off Essex Road, in Canonbury following the stabbing. Picture: James MorrisPolice taped off Mitchison Road, off Essex Road, in Canonbury following the stabbing. Picture: James Morris

It was on the front door steps of this house where Defendant 3 stabbed Nashon three times in the back of the legs with a machete-style blade. One of the wounds caused fatal blood loss. Nashon, who lived in Upper Holloway and was a former Central Foundation Boys’ School pupil, died in hospital at 2.30am the next day.

The trial heard Nashon had been targeted on numerous occasions in 2017. Mr Davies said it was because he had spoken to police about an older incident.

The court heard that on March 1, a group of youths had gathered outside his parents’ house in Mitchison Road and shouted insults. CCTV footage showed Nashon storming out to confront his tormentors. Four ran off and hid in a shop, while Nashon chased one into Essex Road holding a knife said to have been dropped by one of the youths. Nashon was arrested and was awaiting trail for affray at the time of his murder.

He was attacked on July 1, telling police that three youths jumped out of a car and grabbed him, shouting: ‘You’re a grass.’ They ran off after people in the nearby barber shop tried to stop them.

Mr Davies said his eventual killing on August 24/25 was a result of a “pattern of hostility shown to him by Jack Stevens and/or members of the Cally Boyz gang and/or associates of Stevens”.

He told the jury on the opening day of the trial last Monday: “He knew his attackers. He was expecting another attack. He was expecting them to use lethal violence. His expectations were met.”

During his defence case, Zambon had told the jury under cross-examination from defence solictor Judith Khan that he “never intended for Nashon to get hurt”.

Zambon was said to have left Mitchison Road during the attack. Asked why, he told the jury: “Because I saw a knife. I thought he was going to get stabbed. I never wanted that to happen. I left before it happened. I didn’t want to play a part in it. If I wanted to be part of it, I would have played my part.”

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