He was murdered by the leader of the gang, Learco Chindamo, an Asian immigrant. In court, Chindamo sought to explain away what he said to a friend about Philip's murder thus:
"I was boasting... Because he was showing off I decided to tell him a story about how I had stabbed a teacher. I said I saw blood, to make it sound more exciting."Chindamo was born in Milan in 1980 to an Italian father and a Filipina mother. When he was four, his mother returned to the Philippines with Learco and his brothers. They remained there for two years, after which his mother returned to Britain, leaving her sons behind. After a while, however, all three came over.
He was of low intelligence. Psychiatrists found that his performance in various tests would have been surpoassed by 99 per cent of the population.
After an argument with a pupil at one of the many schools he attended, a fist fight began. Chindamo finished it with a knife, slashing his opponent. No charges were brought. At this time he regularly began to play truant. He joined a large gang of Asian and Filipino youths who spent most of their time in the amusement arcades of King's Cross and Piccadilly.
Chindamo became obsessed with martial arts and the Triads. One anonymous source who lived on the same estate said:
"He was always telling everyone that he was a Triad, that he was being asked by them to sort people out."His gang wore dark clothing and bandannas and scarves over their faces, copying the uniform of the Ninja gangster. One youth who knew many of them said:
"They were up to everything. Learco would bully the kids on the estate and take their money but when he was with his gang, he would also mug people. Once they tried to attack me. He put a long curved knife to my throat but I faced him down. He thought he was a gangster but he was nothing really."On 26 June 1997, Chindamo was convicted of attacking a student in 'an act of gratuitous violence' just 12 days before he stabbed Philip Lawrence.
He 'bottled' Jonathan Roberts as he walked with friends in Oxford Street. He smashed a bottle into Jonathan's head 'for no good reason other than violence for the sake of violence,' said Aftab Jafferjee, prosecuting.
Gregory Jananto, a close friend of Chindamo and a fellow gang member, was jailed for eight years for the near-fatal stabbing of John Mills, the husband of DPP, Barabara Mills, during a street robbery in May, 1995.
He was given a six year sentence to run concurrently with the one he was already serving, after it was discovered that he had threatened a key prosecution witness the night before he was due to give evidence in Chindamo's trial. His co-defendants in that case, Roland Ramos and Ramon Quiambao, were among 14 other member of the same gang who are now serving time for the part they played in a succession of violent crimes.
Ramos and Quiambao were jailed for six years.
Others in the group included Calville Angol and two Filipino brothers, Allan and Eduardo Agum, who were convicted of taking part in the gang-rape and attempted murder of 32-year-old Viennese tourist and mother-of-two, Alexandra Sablatnig.
The first and second-generation teenage immigrants, who were all aged between 14 and 17 at the time, accosted Alexandra and dragged her off the streets to a canal, when she strayed in a no-go area of King's Cross, London.
After being beaten savagely and stripped naked, she was raped repeatedly by as many as eight teenage attackers who chanted "Fuck the white bitch" during her ordeal.
However, after an hour or so, when she was asked whether she could swim, Alexandra had the presence of mind to tell her attackers that she could not. At which point, thinking that she would drown, they threw her into the canal and she was able to effect her escape.
On 12 April 1997, The Telegraph reported thus:
"An insight into the lawless sub-culture of the teenagers who gang-raped an Austrian mother and threw her into a canal emerged during the three-day Old Bailey trial that ended yesterday.All hail the solid British citizens of the future!
Most of the youths... come from run-down council estates and one-parent families. They include immigrants from the Philippines and Colombia, and the British-born children of Caribbean and Greek Cypriot parents. The ringleader, who was also the youngest, was over six feet tall, though he was only 14.
Placed in care after his parents' marriage broke up, he had already been cautioned for theft and carrying an offensive weapon and was on bail for three street robberies at the time of the rape. Despite being in care, he was able to walk out unchecked, the staff powerless to stop him because of strict legal limitations on restraint.
According to a detective involved in the investigation, one of the smallest members of the gang spoke without trace of emotion of his involvement in street crime. Victims were dragged from the street at knifepoint and forced to hand over cash. The proceeds kept the gang in designer clothing. The same boy, who came to England from Colombia in 1986, had been expelled from his north London school a week before the rape for robbing another pupil. Another pupil at the all-boys school in Holloway said:
'They brought knives into school. They would try and scare people by getting knives out and drawing them across their throats, to say they were going to cut your throat. One time a black kid beat one of them up in school and they threw a petrol bomb through the front window of his house'.
Aged from 14 to 18, the gang spent long hours in arcades playing video games and pool, or roaming the streets looking for potential robbery victims... It was on one such expedition that they encountered the Austrian woman, wandering lost in the early hours of the morning.
During the hour-long attack the mixed-race gang shouted 'Fuck the white bitch'. John Bevan, QC, prosecuting, said their behaviour was 'overtly racist in nature'. Almost all the worst features of multiple rape were present, he said.
'The behaviour of these youths acting in a pack defies rational understanding'.
Seven of the gang had admitted rape. An eighth, who denied the charge, was found guilty yesterday...
The woman, who was on a shopping trip to London, was attacked as she left her hotel to go for a late-night walk. Taking a wrong turn, she walked into the seedy area around King's Cross that serves as a haven for drug sellers, prostitutes and aggressive beggars.
The district was a magnet for the gang. Had she turned left instead of right, she might have been safe, said Det. Sgt Keith Manktelow. Instead she encountered the youths who had, as usual, spent the evening in amusement arcades. She 'regarded them as children', and while refusing their invitation to a party, chatted and walked with them.
But once they reached a deserted part of the Grand Union Canal, the youths changed from being 'nice and friendly'. They grabbed her and dragged her along the towpath. The ringleader told her: 'Now the party is starting'.
He was the first to rape her while she was pinioned to the ground by four others who held her legs and arms. The youths then took turns to hold her down while they raped her and forced her to perform oral sex. After about an hour she was asked if she could swim. 'I said no because I hoped they would throw me in the water', said the woman. 'Then they raped me a little more and pushed me towards the water. I was still being raped. I had said I could not swim, they pushed me in.'
But she could swim and made for the far bank of the canal, where she managed to alert a security guard who called the police...
The gang had also been captured on several security videos. In one they are seen walking with their victim and steering her towards a stretch of grass beside the canal where the attack took place... Two were Filipino-born brothers who came to England in 1992.
The youngest, found guilty of rape yesterday, was part of a family of three brothers and two sisters who arrived after their mother married an Englishman. When arrested at his north London school he denied being present, but he later described how the gang joked about the attack afterwards. Although he was only 14 at the time the boy, whose mother has now separated from her husband, was under no requirement to be home by any specific time.
The elder brother had already been sent home to the Philippines after failing to settle in London but had returned. At the time of his arrest, he was already on bail for robbery."
Roland Ramos and Ramon Quiambao lodged an appeal against their six-year sentence and Gregory Jananto against his eight-year sentence.
This was heard in the Court of Appeal on 24 May 1999. What follows in excerpted from that hearing:
"On 16th December 1997 at the Central Criminal Court Roland Ramos, Ramon Quiamboa and Gregory Jananto were each convicted of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice and also of violent disorder. For the first, Ramos and Quiamboa were each sentenced to six years' detention in a young offender institution and for the second to two years' detention, that term to be served concurrently with the term of six years.16-year-old Nicholas Mavrides, got a ten-year sentence for his part in the crime.
Jananto was sentenced to seven years' detention for the offence of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice and two years' detention concurrent for the violent disorder. He was already serving a sentence of eight years' detention for robbery and causing grievous bodily harm with intent... All three, now aged 19 years, have appealed against conviction...
The ugly incident, which occurred on 6th October 1996 and led to their convictions, arose indirectly out of the infamous case respecting the murder of the headmaster, Philip Lawrence, back in December 1995. It will be remembered by everyone who reads their newspaper or watches television or listens to the wireless that Philip Lawrence was stabbed outside his school whilst protecting a pupil.
Within an hour of that happening a youth called Chindamo had admitted to Jananto that he had been involved in the fight outside the school. Later the same evening Chindamo met up with a number of his friends, all from the Philippines, including a youth called Anthony Garcia. Whilst they were playing pool, Chindamo said in the hearing of Garcia that he had stabbed a teacher that day... overnight the killing received wide-spread publicity and soon after that Chindamo was arrested.
On 29 January, Garcia made a statement to police in which he recorded his conversation with Chindamo...
The incident with which this Court is concerned, as we have said, took place on 6th October 1996, the night before Garcia was due to give evidence. A large number of boys and young men, many from the Philippines, had attended a club in Tottenham Court Road. At about midnight, as numbers were leaving the premises, there was an incident between Garcia and a little group of his friends and others including the three appellants.
The prosecution case eventually, when the three appellants came to stand their trial, was that they were friends of Chindamo and very much resented the fact that Garcia was to give evidence against him. The case was that as Garcia was waiting outside others emerging, including the three appellants, tackled him with the fact that he was to give evidence, with Quiamboa shouting, 'You grass, you grass', and Ramos saying, 'What did you grass my cousin for?'
Fighting broke out. Bottles were broken. It is common ground that Garcia and those who were with him retreated to Garcia's car, where they armed themselves with a variety of terrifying weapons and battle was joined. Certainly those included in the group to which the appellants belonged (or some of them) were also armed. Fortunately Garcia did not receive serious injuries, though he was injured, and he was not deterred from giving evidence the following day, with the consequences to which we have already referred.
It was as a result of that incident, as we have said, that these three appellants came to be charged and were eventually convicted, it being the prosecution case that the violence which erupted and the threats which were made, including threats to harm members of Garcia's family and to burn down his house, were all aimed at preventing Garcia from giving evidence...
Ramos... was 16 or 17 at the date of the offence or offences. He had a 2-year-old daughter... He had one previous conviction... For that conviction... he had been conditionally discharged in June 1995. Quiamboa... had lived with his parents and was a student, working part-time in a burger bar... Jananto was on bail for the very serious offence for which he received the substantial sentence of which we have mentioned. He had findings of guilt, one of them for violence.
We can well understand the trial judge taking a very serious view of these matters. Any attempt to prevent a witness giving evidence in a criminal trial will be visited by a substantial term of custody, be it detention or imprisonment...
Even so, WE THINK THAT IN THE CASE OF RAMOS AND QUIAMBOA SIX YEARS WAS LONGER THAN NECESSARY... We propose in each case TO QUASH THE SENTENCE OF SIX YEARS' DETENTION AND SUBSTITUTE IN EACH CASE A SENTENCE OF THREE-AND-A-HALF YEARS' DETENTION.
In the case of Jananto... we recognise that THE SENTENCE OF SEVEN YEARS WAS LONGER THAN NECESSARY. We acknowledge the fact that he was on bail when he committed the present offence. We think that HIS SENTENCE OF SEVEN YEARS SHOULD BE QUASHED AND A SENTENCE OF FOUR-AND-A-HALF YEARS PUT IN ITS PLACE".
He was released in August 2002, having served just five years. Norman Brennan, chairman of the Victims of Crime Trust, said:
"The scars of this case are still raw. It was a trial that shocked the nation and little of the detail has faded from people's minds. It is disgraceful that this offender has been released back into society after such a short term. This rape was made all the more awful because it was committed by a gang of eight...Quite.
The judge used the strongest words of condemnation when he sentenced these thugs. But WHAT DETERRENT IS IT WHEN THEY ARE COMING OUT OF PRISON AFTER SERVING HALF THEIR SENTENCES? This woman was not only raped and degraded, she was thrown naked into the canal and it was only by a miracle that she did not sink and drown.
If we have any hope of regaining respect for the criminal justice system, SENTENCES MUST REFLECT THE SEVERITY OF THE CRIME. THE JUDGE SHOULD HAVE IMPOSED THE MAXIMUM SENTENCE. THE EARLY RELEASE OF THIS MAN WILL DO NOTHING TO ENCOURAGE VICTIMS OF RAPE TO COME FORWARD."
On September 21 1996, The Daily Mirror reported:
"Pacqita heard that Britain has a good welfare state and that she and the children could be well off, even if she wasn't in work so she came here and found that everything she had been told was true', commented a relative of Pacquita Chindamo, Filipino mother of Learco Chindamo who murdered London headmaster Philip Lawrence. She is now living with an unemployed Moroccan in a three-bedroom Council flat in north London".In March 2004, Philip Lawrence's school, St George's in Maida Vale, was temporarily closed by Westminster council because of an outbreak of pupil violence.
The council stressed that the option of permanent closure had not been ruled out, as this latest outbreak of violence follows its earlier depiction as a 'failing school' by inspectors.
Philip Lawrence is seen below,alongside the Asian immigrant who killed him:
Six years after Philip's death, the 13-year-old black boy he was trying to protect from Chindamo, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years' imprisonment for carrying a loaded Browning pistol at the Notting Hill Carnival.
He had previously dropped out of school.
As he was led down to the cells at the Old Bailey, William Njoh waved at Philip's widow, Frances, who was watching the proceedings.
She blew him a kiss.
Outside court she said she felt sorry for Njoh and added:
"I have to see what William would like, but I would like to visit him in prison. I feel he does need boundaries, but they are not prison walls."The front page of the 17 December 1997 edition of The Express looked like this:
Next time you feel sorry for a bunch of would be asylum-seekers begging and pleading to be allowed into our country or using the Human Rights Act in order to stay, just remember how grateful their children will grow up to be for the sanctuary we gave and the kindness we showed to their parents.
PS. On 24 August 2011, The Guardian reported thus:
"Jurors were told Chindamo tried to 'intimidate and terrify' (David) Sexton, allegedly demanding cash as he withdrew money outside a Sainsbury's store on 13 November last year...Chindamo, Janato and Akhtar were all found NOT GUILTY.
Prosecutor Alison Morgan told the court: 'Mr Chindamo came towards Mr Sexton saying words to the effect of, 'Do you know who I am?' and 'Do you remember about the headteacher in Maida Vale?' The crown say that this was quite plainly and deliberately a reference to his conviction designed to intimidate and threaten Mr Sexton.'
He became increasingly loud and aggressive and even falsely told Sexton that his co-defendant, Gregory Jananto, had stabbed a witness in his murder trial...
Jurors heard how Jananto... armed with a large empty glass bottle which he waved around by the neck, and Saeed Akhtar... surrounded Sexton in an 'intimidating and threatening manner'...
Giving evidence from behind a screen, (David) recalled feeling 'scared' when Chindamo allegedly referred to the December 1995 murder outside the gates of St George's School... 'He demanded compensation for disrespecting him,' Sexton told the court. 'He was basically saying, 'hand over the money'. I didn't think I had done anything wrong.' Terrified, he complied 'because he was scared of what would happen to him if he did not'...
Jananto... admitted he had a bottle of vodka in his hand and accepted his behaviour was 'overly aggressive'... Akhtar denied using any threat or force and claimed the other group of men started the situation."
In other words, a young Englishman of good character was not believed.
The New Barbarians were.