Two men who were involved in a fatal attack on a man after a drug deal went wrong in East Ham have been convicted of manslaughter.

Rayhan Yasin Ali, 19 (09.09.92), of Abbots Road, East Ham; and Junaid Sulaiman, 21 (15.10.00), of Prince Regent Lane, Newham were found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter following the conclusion of a trial at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, 19 July.

Harry Ehibor, 21 (15.10.00), of Chalk Farm Road, Camden and Saeed Farouk, 23 (12.03.99), of Macaulay Road, East Ham, were acquitted of murder and manslaughter.

Ali and Sulaiman will be sentenced at the same court in September.

The court heard of Ali and Sulaiman had met on the 29 December 2020 with the intent of meeting 28-year-old Abiola Akerele at his address in Stondon Walk, East Ham.

Abiola had recently lost his job and had begun to deal cannabis in a bid to earn money.

Shortly after 15: 00hrs one of the defendants phoned Abiola and arranged to attend his address to buy cannabis. A short while later, the defendants arrived and Abiola went outside. Once outside an altercation occurred which led to a knife being produced.

In the ensuing fight, Abiola was overpowered and subjected to a savage attack in which he was stabbed.

After the attack, the suspects fled the scene on foot while Abiola was helped back inside his house. Despite the best efforts of paramedics who had been called to the scene, Abiola died around an hour after the attack.

Detectives launched an investigation and immediately began to piece together the events of that afternoon.

CCTV analysis proved key – while it didn’t capture the fatal incident, it showed the suspects arriving at, and fleeing the scene.

Allied to phone work, which further revealed their movements, detectives identified the suspects and made arrests.

Officers recovered various items of clothing from the suspects that matched those worn by the attackers. Abiola’s blood was also found on a trainer and jogging bottoms seized from Ali.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams who led the investigation said:

“The death of Abiola Akerele is another example of the futility of carrying knives and the disastrous consequences of what can happen when violence escalates.

“It has never been fully established why this incident escalated so dramatically but Abiola suffered fatal injuries in the attack.

“Sulaiman and Ali must now pay the consequences for their actions which will entail a significant period of time in jail. While this in no way can compensate Abiola’s family and friends for their loss, I do hope it gives them some sense that justice has been served.”