Two guilty of murdering new dad after chase
Police pledge to pursue hunt for two remaining suspects – one believed to be hiding abroad
30 March, 2018 — By Emily Finch
Guilty of murder: Jhon Berhane, left, and Dillon Zambon
TWO young men who “cornered and trapped” a new dad before he was fatally stabbed just yards from his mother’s home were found guilty of murder on Monday following a two-week trial.
A 12-strong Old Bailey jury found Dillon Zambon, 20, and Jhon Berhane, 18, guilty of murdering Nashon Esbrand, 27, of Upper Holloway, in August last year after he was chased along Essex Road and trapped in Mitchison Road by five youths on cycles.
The two were convicted of murder by joint enterprise, an often controversial principle of common law where someone who did not deal the fatal blow can face a murder charge.
A 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons because of his age, pleaded guilty to murder at the start of the trial.
He was said to have plunged a Rambo-style knife into Mr Esbrand’s legs, cutting through a major artery. He was aged just 15 at the time of the attack.
The jury heard how neighbours and passers-by battled to save Mr Esbrand’s life after he collapsed in a doorway while the youths cycled away.
In his closing speech prosecution barrister Hugh Davies QC detailed Mr Esbrand’s final words as he was cradled by a neighbour.
He told the jury: “At the end of this you are left with two different sides of humanity.
“His neighbours were doing their best with Nashon as he lay bleeding, effectively to death.”
He said Mr Esbrand told a neighbour: “Don’t let my mum see me like this” while his neighbour replied: “You’re not going anywhere. You need to mop my house up.”
The neighbour fought to keep Mr Esbrand awake while an ambulance arrived. A passing bus driver used his jacket as a makeshift tourniquet.
Nashon Esbrand: Neighbours fought to save his life after street stabbing. Picture: SliderCuts
Mr Davies said: “Everyone was doing their best for him and he had done nothing to justify this.
“By contrast, that convoy of cyclists were cruising back to the Cally as if nothing had happened.”
Earlier in the trial, the court heard how a pub-goer rushed out of the nearby Hops and Glory to try to stop the youths attacking Mr Esbrand.
The man in his 50s, who spoke from behind a curtain, told the court: “A young black guy came speedily to the [pub] window.
“Two or three seconds later, a group came flying around the corner. Some of them were on bikes, others on foot. I immediately had the feeling something dreadful was going to happen.”
He left the pub and went towards the youths, yelling at them to “Stop!” and “Leave him alone” but they did not listen.
Mr Esbrand was taken to an East London hospital by ambulance but died early next morning. Less than two weeks before his death he had become the father of a baby girl, Milla, and had just visited his parents in Mitchison Road.
The court was shown CCTV footage of Mr Esbrand joking and laughing with his partner as they pushed their baby down Essex Road, towards their own home.
Just 15 minutes later the same camera would capture Mr Esbrand running for his life after he was spotted by Zambon and another male, moments after he said goodbye to his new family.
The jury heard how Mr Esbrand had been targeted by members of the Cally Boyz, a gang made up of youths living off Caledonian Road, after they accused him of co-operating with police.
It was revealed that Mr Esbrand was being treated for depression after “being targeted by gangs” and a month before his death had made a 999-call to police to say he had been ambushed by gang members.
Zambon’s defence counsel, Judith Khan QC, told the court last Wednesday that her client “didn’t know that serious injury was going to happen to Mr Esbrand” and that seeing a knife pulled out was a “game changer” for him.
She told the court that Zambon had moved away from the other four youths once a knife had been pulled out and that he wasn’t in a gang.
A fourth suspect has never been identified by police through CCTV footage while the prosecution told the court that a fifth suspect, named as Jack Stevens, is believed to be hiding abroad.
Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall, who led the investigation, said: “Nashon was fatally stabbed in the same street where his parents lived after being relentlessly pursued in full view of many local people going about their normal business.
“Three people have been convicted of murdering Nashon, a much-loved son, brother and father. We will continue to ensure that all those involved are brought to justice and thank the community for their support during the investigation.”
Zambon, Berhane and the 16-year-old will be sentenced by Judge Anuja Dhir QC on April 27.