Family hope for justice in 14 year old Highbury murder

�The family of a man murdered in Highbury 14 years ago hope new evidence will help police track down his killer.

Ricky Smith, 25, a father of two from Highbury Park, was stabbed to death on October 3, 1997, as he walked home with his partner.

Police never found the man responsible, but now a routine review of the case has turned up DNA evidence linking the killing to a stabbing in Harlesden earlier the same night.

Mr Smith, a floor fitter, had been on a night out with the mother of his two children and they headed to a kebab house at around 11.30pm.

As they walked near Hamilton Road, in Highbury, a man approached them and knifed Mr Smith in the chest in a seemingly unprovoked attack.

He was rushed to the Whittington Hospital, but died on arrival.

Forensic analysis on items found near the scene now connect the murder to the non-fatal stabbing of 21-year-old Juan Marais in College Road, Harlesdon, at around 9.15pm.

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‘In our thoughts’

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

A man attempted to retrieve the abandoned items in Conewood Street, Highbury, on October 4. He asked about the items and was told by a resident they had been handed over to the police.

Keith Smith, Ricky’s father, said: “There is not a day that goes by when we don’t think about Ricky. He’s in our thoughts every moment and it’s almost impossible to imagine that it all happened 14 years ago.

“Our grandchildren have grown up without their dad and we want to know why this has happened.”

Det Insp Colette Smyth, who is now investigating the case with the Homicide and Serious Crime Command in Hendon, said: “We urge anyone who has information about either incident to come forward, no matter how insignificant they think it might be. Someone holds the key to helping us solve this.

“With DNA evidence we can easily eliminate or identify anyone put forward by the public.

“We are determined to hold the perpetrator to account and to achieve closure for the family of Ricky and Mr Marais, who have suffered for these past 14 years.

Call the incident room at Hendon on 020 8358 0100, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.