Stefan Appleton: Pair cleared of murdering teen but boy, 17, guilty of manslaughter

Stefan Appleton (Picture: Met Police)

Stefan Appleton (Picture: Met Police) - Credit: Archant

A 17-year-old boy faces jail after being convicted of killing teenager Stefan Appleton in a Canonbury Park last June.

Both the killer and his co-defendant were cleared of murder. The boy found guilty of manslaughter had admitted stabbing Stefan but claimed self-defence.

He will be sentenced on April 21.

It comes at the end of a four-week trial. A third boy, 17, was cleared of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.

None of the boys can be named for legal reasons.

Stefan, 17, of the Marquess Estate in Canonbury, was stabbed to death with a “zombie killer” machete on June 10 last year in Nightingale Park, off Nightingale Road.

Det Ch Insp Chris Jones, who led the investigation, said: “Stefan Appleton was killed as he socialised with friends at a park in Islington on a summer’s evening last June. In front of playing children, his attacker struck him with a ‘zombie killer’-type machete from which Stefan suffered fatal injuries.

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“There can be absolutely no excuse for young people to carry such dreadful weapons on London’s streets and this case once again highlights the awful consequences of doing so.

“Finally, I would like to thank Stefan’s family that have conducted themselves with dignity, demonstrating enormous strength and resolve throughout what must have been a very difficult trial process.”

During the trial, prosecutors told the jury the boys, Defendants “One” and “Two”, rode to the park on a stolen moped just before 6pm. It was alleged “Two” – today convicted of manslaughter – jumped off, unsheathed a machete and chased after Stefan, who was “stabbed repeatedly” as he “lay helplessly on the ground”.

But while “Two” admitted killing Stefan with the machete, he said it was in self-defence. The court heard that six days earlier, one of Stefan’s friends, known to be from the Essex Road area, stole his bike at knifepoint.

As a result, “Two” said he went to the park to retrieve the bike, and that he took the machete as “last resort” protection. “One”, meanwhile, who remained on the moped as the incident took place, admitted driving “Two” to the scene but denied murder on account that he didn’t know anyone would be stabbed.

The court also heard that when “Two” asked for his bike back, the boys in the park alley stabbed and swung at him. One of these boys was Stefan, he claimed, who “went for his knife and went to stab me”.

In retaliation, he “lashed out once”, delivering the fatal blow. As the two defendants made their getaway, Stefan collapsed in nearby Caldy Walk and died two hours later.

All three defendants had denied another charge of intent to cause grievous bodily harm.