Brothers jailed for Peckham Rye phone robbery murder

Teenage brothers who were traced to their home addresses by painstaking examination of CCTV footage have been convicted of the murder of Kalabe Legesse in Peckham Rye.

Both defendants, [A] Nah’shun Thomas, 20, (22.12.03) and Nyran Thomas, 17 (09.08.06), both of Bournemouth Road, SE15, appeared at Croydon Crown Court on Wednesday, 15 May. Nah’shun Thomas was sentenced to life with a minimum terms of 25 years and three monts’ imprisonment and Nyran Thomas was sentenced to life with a minimum terms of 19 years and ten months’ imprisonment.

Both were previously convicted following trial at the same court on Friday, 5 January and were remanded in custody to await sentencing.

The Judge, His Honour Justice Gower, presiding lifted reporting restrictions in relation to Nyran Thomas who is still a juvenile. He also praised the work of the investigative team commending them for their painstaking, thorough and professional investigation.

 

 

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HHJ Gower praised Kalabe’s family for their quiet dignity throughout what was a harrowing investigation, along with the two robbery victims for the evidence they gave.

Investigating officer Detective Inspector Adam Guttridge said: “The defendants were riding around the area, armed with a knife that they were prepared to use to commit violent offences.

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“With crime comes accountability and consequences. For cruelly and needlessly ending Kalabe Legesse’s life, they will have years ahead of them in prison to reflect on their actions and the lives they have destroyed.”

On 30 December 2022, at around 20:00hrs, 29-year-old Kalabe Legesse, who was from Southwark, was sitting on a bench at Peckham Rye Park when the defendants approached him, riding bikes, and threatened him in an attempt to steal his mobile phone. During this robbery Kalabe was stabbed once in the chest – a wound that would end his life.

After the stabbing, the defendants left Kalabe collapsed on the park bench, where, despite the efforts of officers and medics, he sadly died.

A post-mortem examination determined that the cause of death was a haemorrhage, resulting from a single stab wound to the heart.

When Kalabe was approached by the defendants he had been talking on the phone to a friend. However, when emergency services arrived and a crime scene was established there was no sign of his phone. The friend he had been talking to would later tell police that he heard the suspects saying “Where are you from?’ and ‘What have you got on you?”

As part of their investigation, detectives trawled through hundreds of hours of CCTV and by retracing the suspects’ movements they were able to identify their home addresses.

Both were arrested on suspicion of murder on Thursday, 19 January 2023.

Police enquiries uncovered that the defendants had committed two other mobile phone robberies shortly before Kalabe’s murder. Both victims of those robberies reported that the defendants had intimated they had a knife and said “Where are you from?’ and ‘What have you got on you?”. In the early stages of the trial both defendants pleaded guilty to both of those robberies.

When officers searched the home address of Nyran Thomas, they found, in his grandmother’s bedroom, a sheathed black handled hunting knife that was wrapped in a black Puffa style coat. Forensic examination would later find traces of Kalabe blood inside the sheath.

Both were charged on 21 January 2023 and appeared at Croydon Magistrates Court where they were remanded in custody throughout proceedings.

DI Guttridge added: “My thoughts today are with Kalabe Legesse’s family as they continue to come to terms with their loss. It is my sincere wish that they find some comfort in knowing that justice has been served.”

A spokesperson for Kalabe’s family said: “Nothing can bring back our son Kalabe.

“He was doing nothing wrong on the night that he was killed and we will never understand why he was murdered over a mobile phone. The defendants have not shown any remorse for what they did to him. We have recently passed the anniversary of his death; Christmas and New Year for us will never be the same again.

“Kalabe was loved by everyone he met and had an exciting future ahead of him. He will never be able to have a family of his own, and our family will never have him back.

“We are grateful to the investigation team for their hard work for over a year to bring these people to justice.”

= The pair were sentenced as follows:

Na’shun Thomas:

Murder – life with a minimum term of 25 years and three months;
Robbery – 30 months to run concurrently;
Robbery – 30 months to run concurrently.

Nyran Thomas:

Murder – life with a minimum term of 19 years and ten months;
Robbery – 20 months to run concurrently;
Robbery – 20 months to run concurrently.

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