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Back-from-the-dead teenager beams as his attackers are found guilty

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 2022-09-29
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A “happy-go-lucky” teenager who effectively died for nearly an hour after being repeatedly stabbed in the street beamed in court as his two attackers were found guilty.

James Bascoe-Smith, then aged 16, was left with profound and life-changing injuries when he was knocked off a bicycle and knifed by masked men in Brixton, south London, last February 23.

The youngster, who had been testing a bicycle for his mother, shouted “call my mum, call my mum” before collapsing, the Old Bailey was told.

His heart stopped and he effectively died in the street near his home, only to be brought back to life by medics.

James did not have any issues with anybody in the area. He is a happy boy, always smiling. He is into music, DJ-ing, was studying music technology and has nothing to do with the gang lifestyle

James was doing well in his GCSEs and working as a coach at a local gym before he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now confined to a wheelchair, he smiled broadly while surrounded by tearful family members as a jury convicted two men over the attack after four days of deliberations.

Leon Rashid, 20, from Thornton Heath, south London, and Taiquane Lewis, 18, Kennington, south London, were found guilty of conspiracy to murder.

Rashid was also convicted of having an offensive weapon.

A third defendant, Stephanie Paez-Lopez, 20, from Clapham, south London, burst into tears as she was cleared of assisting an offender by helping to get rid of a Range Rover used in the attack.

Prosecutor Edward Brown KC summarised victim impact statements from James’s family.

We truly need to end this cycle of violence that can often become generational. We need to eradicate knife violence on our streets

His mother, Lisa Bascoe-Smith, said: “James did not have any issues with anybody in the area. He is a happy boy, always smiling.

“He is into music, DJ-ing, was studying music technology and has nothing to do with the gang lifestyle.

“When I look back to the day of the incident, I remember James was so eager to help me out and make sure the bike was working.

“He wanted to look out for me. He wanted to make sure it was safe and 100% rideable.

“I remember standing on my doorstep waiting for him to come back. My phone rang and I saw James lying on the floor.

“I sunk when I saw him in a pool of blood. I keep asking myself, ‘How can it have happened in that space of a minute out of my eyesight?'”

Occupants of that stolen Range Rover and the occupants of a second car, a VW Passat, got out and he was attacked, in particular by three males, each using a potentially lethal weapon… before they then sped off in the same cars

Ms Bascoe-Smith said James has made some progress in his rehabilitation, adding: “He has gone from a sporty, carefree, happy-go-lucky boy to someone who has been bedridden and is struggling to move or communicate.”

James’s aunt, Rachel Duncan, said: “We truly need to end this cycle of violence that can often become generational. We need to eradicate knife violence on our streets.”

Jurors had been told James was test-riding his mother’s bicycle when he hit by a stolen black Range Rover in Henry Road shortly after 6pm.

Mr Brown said: “The Range Rover deliberately drove towards him, struck him and knocked him off his bike.

“Occupants of that stolen Range Rover and the occupants of a second car, a VW Passat, got out and he was attacked, in particular by three males, each using a potentially lethal weapon… before they then sped off in the same cars.”

James’s mother, who had been waiting at her door, received a video call from his mobile phone as he lay on the ground.

In effect, James Bascoe-Smith had died at the scene and was only brought back to life by the immediate and significant efforts of the treating medical professionals

Emergency services were alerted and paramedics arrived at 6.22pm.

Medics noted stab wounds to James’s left arm and gut and further injuries to the right thigh.

Before he could be taken to hospital, his heart stopped – sparking a battle to save him.

Mr Brown said: “This was a brutal and terrible attack.

“In effect, James Bascoe-Smith had died at the scene and was only brought back to life by the immediate and significant efforts of the treating medical professionals.

“However, he had suffered a significant period during which there was a lack of blood/oxygen to the brain – possibly as much as 50 minutes.”

Even though there was no reason for the attack, it was “very determined and concerted” and “very nearly succeeded” in killing the teenager, Mr Brown said.

A selection of “terrifying” knives discarded by the fleeing attackers included a combat knife, a Rambo-style blade and a Zombie-style machete.

The defendants were remanded into custody to be sentenced at a later date.

Previously, a fourth defendant, Patrick Fox-Pinto, 18, from Bow, east London, was cleared of all charges after the prosecution offered no evidence.

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