Monday, 29 December 2008

His Mates Called him Slasher

In December 2003, Monica Watts was attacked in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, north London.

On the 16 September 2004, the BBC website reported thus:

"A 16-year-old boy who stabbed a jogger in a north London park has been jailed for life. Elias Cecchetti was found guilty at an Old Bailey trial in April of attacking Monica Watts, 39, in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, in December 2003.

He was also convicted of stabbing a man, 17, in Finsbury Park, north London, in September 2003 at another trial at the same court in July...

Cecchetti, who went by the street name of Slasher, had been convicted of crimes a total of 20 times between the ages of 13 and 15.

He was electronically tagged at the time he attacked Miss Watts but his curfew was between 1900 BST and 0700 BST and he carried out the stabbing at 1700 BST.

As the teacher jogged in the park, Cecchetti shouted that he was 'going to get' her. When she asked what that meant, he stabbed her five times and kicked her wounds.

Cecchetti was cleared of attempted murder but the jury did find him guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Miss Watts only survived the attack as a doctor, who was walking through the park with her children at the time, treated her.

Cecchetti was convicted of unlawfully wounding his 17-year-old former friend at an earlier trial. He narrowly missed the teenager's heart when he stabbed him in the chest after a row over a hat. Det. Chief Insp. Ron Scott who led the investigation said:

'Elias Cecchetti is without doubt the most dangerous juvenile I have ever encountered in my 28 years of service. He has proved to be a calculating and callous individual whose complete disregard for others is extremely disturbing. I believe that he lay in wait for a victim in Clissold Park with an intention to harm someone'.

Judge Warwick McKinnon sentenced him to life for the attack on Miss Watts and two counts of robbery, and two-and-a-half-year's for the attack on his other victim."
On the same day the This is London website added:

"The schoolboy had a record of violence dating back to the age of 10, with 17 previous convictions for offences including grievous bodily harm, threats to kill, possession of an offensive weapon, burglary, criminal damage and assault.

He was convicted at 12 of making threats to kill, attacking his mother during one court appearance...

Curtis Byfield described in evidence how his former friend laughed while stabbing him in the chest on September 17 last year...

Judge McKinnon described him as 'a person who has shown a propensity to commit almost random acts of violence and in some cases extremely serious acts of violence'."
The Evening Standard described this boy thus, on 6 August 2004.

"His mates called him Slasher and his heroes were Al Capone and the Al Pacino movie gangster Scarface. But to the police he was simply the most violent, dangerous boy they had ever seen.

His record of violence went back to the age of 10. By the time he was 15, he had built up a thriving drugs trade and a terrifying reputation. He had 17 previous convictions for 26 offences including grievous bodily harm, threats to kill, possession of an offensive weapon, burglary, criminal damage and common assault.

One youth on his Finsbury Park estate described him as " a psychopath". " He watched Scarface a lot and acted like he was the Al Pacino character, Tony Montana-He'd put on the accent and say, 'Hey, you wanna fuck with me?'

'He used to swear at his mum. He didn't listen to her because he had no respect. He said he was a mistake and he's never seen his dad'. A 59-year-old neighbour said:

'He would say his hero is Al Capone. He sees himself as a little Mafia boss. When the police were coming to his door every day his attitude was 'you can't touch me'. One youth said:

'He sold brown (heroin), and did business with prostitutes. When he was 10 he slashed this boy. Once he smashed a bottle in a boy's face. No one would say anything'. When he broke his arm, he used the plaster cast to hide a weapon. The youth said:

'He was involved with a gang around Pembury Estate in Hackney called 'The Pembury'. He said by the time he was 20 he'd be in prison or get shot'.

Next month he will be sentenced for the stabbing of Curtis Byfield, and the attack on Miss Watts. Byfield was 17 when he was attacked by Slasher, who was 'laughing and smiling' as he stabbed him. Byfield, a former friend, said:

'He took out a knife and I said: 'What are you doing', but he attacked me with the knife bringing it down towards my chest. I thought I was going to die. A lot of blood was coming out of me... Then suddenly he came back. I saw him push the boy away and he started trying to stab me in the head. He was trying to kill me'.

The boy was convicted of unlawful and malicious wounding but cleared of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Six weeks later he knifed Miss Watts, 39, in Clissold Park. Some detectives believe he was attempting a copycat killing of Margaret Muller, another jogger stabbed in near identical circumstances.

Hours before the attack the boy had been in a library with his youth offending team worker Terrence Bevington looking at the Met police crime statistics on the internet. The boy suddenly punched the air saying 'yes, because Hackney had recorded the most murders."

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