Lukasz Siemienowicz, 41, of Croyland Road, Edmonton was convicted of the murder of Julio Gomes following a two-week trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Prior to the trial Siemienowicz had previously entered a plea of guilty to one count of manslaughter and another of possession of a knife, but had contested the count of murder.
He was remanded in custody to appear for sentencing at the same court on Monday, 13 December.
Julio Gomes, 29, a market trader, was attacked by Siemienowicz in the grounds of the Old Edmontonians’ Sports & Social Club, in Jubilee Park. Julio, who also had a second job as a cleaner to support his family, was stabbed a little after 8pm on Saturday, 14 September 2019.
The location of the attack was a short walk from the fruit and vegetable stall on Edmonton Green Market where he worked, and as he had finished work for the day, he had gone to the park to relax. This was something he did often and although Julio had called a friend to join him, on this occasion he was alone when Siemienowicz attacked him.
Julio was stabbed near the Grandstand, around 65 metres from the clubhouse, and then tried to run away, but was pursued across the park by a drunk and drug-fuelled Siemienowicz.
The chase came to an end near the clubhouse and was witnessed by a man and woman who had been having a drink nearby. Before he lost consciousness, Julio told the pair ‘the man’s mad, he’s just stabbed me’.
Bleeding heavily, Julio collapsed. The woman took off her hoodie to apply pressure to what was a serious stomach wound, while the man dialed 999.
Officers and London Ambulance Service [LAS] attended, but despite their best efforts, Julio was pronounced dead at the scene. A post-mortem examination found cause of death to have been a stab wound to the abdomen.
As efforts to save Julio had been taking place, Siemienowicz who had been seen chasing him with a kitchen knife, was detained by guests from a party inside the clubhouse. Having left the party to assist, they persuaded a disoriented and drunk Siemienowicz, to lie down on the floor. By this time he had dropped the weapon and was reported to have said: ‘I’m sorry, only God can save me’.
Siemienowicz had been drinking heavily and had used a significant amount of cocaine in the 24 hours prior to the attack and had to be sedated before he could be taken to hospital.
In police interview he later claimed that he was at the bandstand in Jubilee Park, drinking vodka and listening to music. He said that suddenly, he felt a number of blows to his head, face and body. He claimed that as he tried to shield himself he took the knife from his pocket and held it out as he stood up. He said he was not aware of anyone being stabbed and that he then chased away the person who attacked him.
Prior to trial he admitted that he was not attacked and claimed that he couldn’t remember what had taken place, but had not intended to kill Julio Gomes.
A kitchen knife was recovered from the grassed area at the sports ground and later found to match a set of knives found following a search of Siemienowicz’s bedsit in Croyland Road.
Detective Sergeant Dolores Connolly of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command oversaw the investigation. Upon the return of the jury’s guilty verdict, she said: “It was a swift and savage act that ended the life of Julio Gomes, and it is satisfying that the jury has seen past Siemienowicz’s defence and convicted him of murder.
“Julio, who was originally from Guinea Bissau, worked six days a week in order to earn money to look after his family, and was simply going about his daily routine when he had the tragic misfortune to wander into the path of Siemienowicz.
“This is a man who was high on cocaine and claimed to have no memory of killing Julio. He will now face a lengthy jail term which will thankfully prevent him from harming any further innocent people, although it is too late for Julio’s family to draw comfort from this.
“We would like to thank the members of the public who helped Julio and detained the violent and dangerous suspect with no thought for their own safety.”
A statement from Julio Gomes mother, Mrs Cadi Gomes said “Julio was our golden boy, our first born child. He belonged to a humble, respectful and honest family and he had a determined work ethic.
“He has three children, twin boys aged 12 and a daughter aged eight. We know nothing will bring Julio back to us and we hope seeing the man who killed him convicted will bring us a little peace.
“We will never know the reason why he was brutally taken away from us and this is a torment as there was no reason. We do not want any other family to have to suffer this loss as we have. We are grateful to the police and the court for everything they have done in obtaining justice for Julio.”