A knife offender from Croydon has been jailed after stabbing a man in Gravesend following a dispute over a phone charger.
Lemuel Lee was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court to 12 years in prison, after an unprovoked assault which left his victim suffering multiple injuries.
The court heard that on 20 June 2019 Lee, along with Meshack Noel, travelled from Croydon to Gravesend in order for Noel to supply drugs. They visited a flat in Gravesham Court where they stayed overnight. The next day, on 21 June, a number of people were inside the property when Noel became involved in an altercation with a woman who claimed he had taken her phone charger. He pushed her against a wall and grabbed her by the throat. When the victim attempted to intervene Lee jumped up from a sofa and stabbed him twice with a large kitchen knife, causing injuries to his heart and liver.
Both suspects fled the scene leaving the victim with life threatening injuries. He was airlifted to a London hospital, where he survived after emergency surgery. An investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate led to CCTV evidence which identified both Lee and Noel as the suspects. They were arrested on the evening of the assault at an address where they both lived, in Rees Gardens, Croydon.
Lee, aged 20, was subsequently charged with attempted murder and remanded in custody. Noel, aged 26, was granted bail with conditions not to enter Kent. However, on 8 July he visited the home of a key witness threatening her not to give evidence, leaving a note warning ‘snitches get stitches’. He was arrested again two days later and remanded in custody.
At Canterbury Crown Court both suspects denied any wrongdoing. A trial took place and Lee was found not guilty of attempted murder, but convicted of an alternative charge of wounding with intent. Noel was found guilty of perverting the course of justice (namely disposal of the knife used by Lee) and witness intimidation. On Wednesday 19 March 2020, Lee was sentenced to 12 years. Noel received six years’ imprisonment.
Detective Constable Angela Cann of the Major Crime Unit said: ‘This was a shocking and brutal assault and one which would have also caused great alarm and distress to those who witnessed it. The attack was unprovoked and could have quite easily had fatal consequences. Lee is now rightly facing a substantial prison sentence. Noel also played a significant role in this incident. His actions in initially assaulting the woman and then trying to intimidate this witness into retracting her statement, in addition to discarding key evidence, are yet further proof of the contempt both Lee and Noel have for the law.’