Teenager admits manslaughter over fatal stabbing in Norfolk drugs war

Amrik Singh who has admitted the manslaughter of David Lawal.

Amrik Singh who has admitted the manslaughter of David Lawal. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary/Archant

A teenager has admitted killing a man who was stabbed to death during a turf war between rival drugs gangs. 

Amrik Singh, 19, from London, pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the death of David Lawal, 25, who was found by the A134 Brandon Road in Thetford on October 3, 2019.

Five people who had all denied murder had been expected to stand trial this week after a jury was sworn at Norwich Crown Court.

Police at the scene where David Lawal was stabbed at Brandon Road in Thetford. Picture: DENISE BRADL

Police at the scene where David Lawal was stabbed at Brandon Road in Thetford.  - Credit: Norfolk Police

However at a hearing on Friday the jury was dismissed after Singh entered a guilty plea to his manslaughter.

Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow said Mr Lawal’s death had followed a violent confrontation between gangs involved in running a mobile phone drug line to supply drugs in Thetford.

He said Mr Lawal and another man had both been armed with knives when they went to speak with members of a rival gang. 

“When Mr Lawal and the other man made the short walk from where they had parked their car to where these defendants were, what they did not know was that Amrik Singh was also armed with a knife.”

David Lawal, 25, was murdered in Thetford. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

David Lawal, an accountancy and finance graduate, was described by his father Albert Lawal as a "quiet, friendly and hardworking young man". - Credit: Archant

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The confrontation had quickly descended into violence with Mr Lawal slashing Singh’s clothing, said Mr Glasgow. 

“Fearing that he was about to be stabbed, Amrik Singh used his knife to stab David Lawal. He stabbed him in the neck and the blade penetrated to a depth of some 8cm. The damage was catastrophic,” he added. 

Singh was remanded into custody pending a sentencing hearing at Norwich Crown Court on December 16 and 17.

Following Singh’s admission of manslaughter, murder charges against Iddi Zito, 19, from East London, Elie Saba, 36, of Ilford, Lisa Desousa, 23, of London, and Cameron Grant, 19, from London were dropped. 

Police at the scene where David Lawal was stabbed at Brandon Road in Thetford. Picture: DENISE BRADL

Police at the scene where David Lawal was stabbed at Brandon Road in Thetford.  - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Zitto, Saba and Desousa, who have admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs, are also due to be sentenced on December 16 and 17.
Grant, who has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, will stand trial next year.

Two other defendants, Viktorija Kuzule, 19, of Pine Close, Thetford and Claudia Annius, 21, from Bedford, are also due to stand trial next year accused of drug offences with Annius also facing a charge of assisting an offender.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Gray. PIC: Submitted by Norfolk Police.

Detective Chief Inspector Phill Gray.  - Credit: Archant

Det Chief Inspector Phill Gray, who led the investigation on behalf of the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, said: “This was a complex, challenging and fast-moving investigation and while I’m pleased with this result, today I want to remember that David Lawal tragically lost his life. 

“Our thoughts, as they always have been, go to Mr Lawal’s family and friends. I’d also like to thank all those members of the public who came forward to tell us what they knew.”

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