Eurostar killer guilty

A GRINNING knifeman who fled the country on a Eurostar train after stabbing his neighbour to death in Holloway is facing a life sentence today (Thursday).

Yamine Ladghem-Chikouche, 24, knifed Scotsman Duncan MacRae, 55, in the back in the hallway of a block of flats in Caledonian Road.

He was caught on camera smiling as he passed through security checks at St Pancras station before fleeing to France.

The French-Algerian fled on July 15 last year before the emergency services arrived.

Mr MacRae, originally from the Isle of Lewis, bled to death at the scene after the knife wound pierced his aorta.

Various residents at the hostel for the homeless, identified Ladghem-Chikouche as the killer and a European arrest warrant was issued.

By March 1 this year a solicitor contacted the police to say he was willing to hand himself in and three days later he surrendered to a police station in northern France.

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He was flown back to the UK on March 17 and charged with Mr MacRae’s murder.

Ladghem-Chikouche denied murder, claiming he stabbed the victim by accident as he waved the knife around, but was convicted by a majority of 11 to one after a two week trial at the Old Bailey.

Judge Martin Stephens QC will pass sentence at 2pm tomorrow (Fri). He said it was a “serious and disturbing case”.

Prosecutor Mark Fenhalls said there had been a petty row between the victim and another resident at the flats at around 6.15pm on July 15.

Mr MacRae had been bothering the man for heroin, but was told a dealer would not supply him.

“He left the flat in something of a temper,” said the prosecutor.

“The defendant followed him out of the flat saying he was going to deal with this. Mr MacRae never made it out the hallway.

“The defendant killed him at the bottom of the stairs in the communal hallway.

“It was the defendant’s irritation at Mr MacRae either based on events that day or some previous events between them, that led to this catastrophic outcome.”

Residents in the flats who had heard or witnessed the killing called emergency services, but despite efforts to keep him alive Mr MacRae was pronounced at the scene.

The court heard Mr MacRae was a single man and registered drug addict, known to use Class A drugs and prescription methadone.

He was out of work but claimed benefits and lived alone in a bedsit on the second floor of the converted house.

Ladghem-Chikouche, of no fixed address, denied murder.