"You appeared bent on wasting your talents"
Ishaq Hassanjee, aged 18, of Leicester, has been jailed for life after stabbing a university student to death.
Leicester Crown Court heard that the attack happened during an angry confrontation near their homes in Bartholomew Street at 2:30 am on July 18, 2020.
Hassanjee claimed he acted in self-defence when he stabbed 19-year-old Hassan Jama in the chest, penetrating his heart.
However, his claims were rejected and he was convicted of murder.
Bleeding heavily, Mr Jama ran off but was pursued by Hassanjee, still armed with a knife.
Mr Jama collapsed and died in Myrtle Street.
Judge Timothy Spencer QC said: “Hassan Jama was of blameless character with his life in front of him.
“He was a university student and it will never be known what he could have achieved.”
He told Hassanjee: “Your parents made sacrifices to provide you with a good (private) education.
“You appeared bent on wasting your talents, dropping out of college and taking up drug (cannabis) dealing.
“In the month before this killing, you acquired two combat knives, designed to cause serious injury.
“You have a casual attitude to confrontation, aggression and violence – you seem to regard those as the natural and automatic way to resolve problems.”
The night’s events began was Hassanjee being involved in earlier altercations with other people, not involving the victim, who was later recruited by someone Hassanjee had fallen out with to confront him in the street in the early hours of the morning.
Judge Spencer said: “You, Hassanjee, had a knife on you all evening and in my judgement were fired up looking for trouble.
“So you take a life and you blight your own life – you will spend your best years locked up.”
Judge Spencer said that an unresolved mystery remained, surrounding how a knife found near Mr Jama’s body ended up there, with both men’s DNA on it.
He said he “depressingly” concluded that the university student may have also been in possession of a knife.
A second knife was discovered in a nearby alleyway.
A witness said that although he heard both men saying the other would be “dead”, he did not see Mr Jama holding a knife.
He saw Hassanjee lunge at Mr Jama and the victim holding up his shirt to reveal heavy bleeding.
Michael Duck QC, prosecuting, said: “The defendant announced his intention (‘you’re a dead man’) before delivering the blow that killed him.”
However, Judge Spencer disagreed and said that Hassanjee had not intended to cause Mr Jama’s death and that the words were spoken in “bravado”.
Leonard Smith QC, mitigating, said: “His parents worked so hard to give him life’s advantages.
“They share the despair we all feel about the cycle of knife crime in this country.
“It’s a graphic example of a life taken away and another life technically ruined.”
Leicester Mercury reported that Hassanjee was jailed for life, to serve at least 19 years in prison. He also received a further 18 months, which will run concurrently, after he admitted having a bladed article in public.
In a statement, Mr Jama’s family said: “Hassan was both a son and a kind, loving brother who always looked out for both his siblings and other people.
“He always put others before himself and those who knew him will remember him as a kind-hearted soul.
“He was always happy and appreciated everything life had to offer. His future was bright. He was studying accounting and finance at university and wanted to make something of himself.
“Hassan’s death has had a huge impact on all of us, particularly as he was taken away at such a young age. He was a huge part of our family and was especially close to his twin brother.
“They were best friends and always looked out for one another.
“We will never fully come to terms with our loss and Hassan’s death will have a lifelong impact on all of us. He died close to where he lived and we still find it difficult to walk down the street where we live.
“But Hassan will always be in our hearts and is – and will always be – missed dearly. We’ll be sure to carry his name and legacy on forever.”
Detective Inspector Nicole Main said: “I hope the verdict reached by the jury and sentence handed down to Hassanjee will go some way to allowing the family to move forward and continue their grieving process.
“This horrific crime also had a significant impact on residents within the Highfields community and I hope they too can take reassurance from today’s outcome.”