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Mother of knife victim: ‘I’ll never get over losing Abdul’

Youth charity worker was murdered for his iPhone during four-hour stabbing spree by two teens on mopeds described by police as ‘highwaymen of the 21st century’

25 May, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Abdul Samad, who was 28, was stabbed despite handing over his phone and wallet to muggers 

THE mother of a youth charity worker who was murdered for his iPhone during a sadistic four-hour stabbing spree by two teens on mopeds says she will never recover.

Layla Begum said the murder of Abdul Samad, who lived in Maida Vale and worked at the Dragon Hall in Covent Garden, had “absolutely broken” her entire family and left her feeling “like a dead woman walking around my home”.

She discovered the 28-year-old on her doorstep after he was knifed by the muggers despite handing over his phone, wallet and PIN.

Ms Begum said: “Since his death there has not been a single moment that goes by for me without shedding tears. I will never be able to get over losing a son. I often feel like a dead woman walking around my home.”

Killers: Nathan Gilmaney and Troy Thomas, both aged 18

Detectives described Abdul’s killers, Nathan Gilmaney, 18, and Troy Thomas, 18, both from Maida Vale, as the “highwaymen of the 21st century” who had carried out nine knife-attack robberies on one night. Victims were often stabbed for “no ­reason” during the four-hour rampage between Bayswater and Maida Vale.

Thomas had been riding the moped and Gilmaney the pillion passenger, although they swapped over as the evening progressed.

Police said the terror began at 10.30pm in Shirland Road, Maida Vale, last October 16.

CCTV footage shows Abdul being robbed by Thomas and Gilmaney

They approached a man while holding knives. They mounted the pavement on the moped and Gilmaney stabbed him in the back, puncturing his right lung.

An hour later they attacked a man who was with his elderly aunt in St Mary’s Terrace, Paddington, stealing jewellery and money before stabbing the man in the stomach.

Moments later they confronted Abdul in St Mary’s Terrace, Paddington.

He handed over his phone and they drove off, only to do a U-turn in the street and return when they realised they needed the mobile’s PIN.

Police issued this image of Thomas’s flick knife

Abdul gave them the code and also handed over his wallet. CCTV footage showed him doing exactly as they asked, offering no resistance. But Gilmaney still stabbed him in the chest and he died after being found on his doorstep by his parents.

Detective Inspector Shaun Fitzgerald, investigating officer from the Met’s homicide and major crime command, said: “The teenagers believed they had the right to threaten and rob wherever they wanted, often stabbing their victims for no reason at all but to prove they could.

“Their behaviour is truly shocking, not least because the fact they had just killed a man and could hear his cries and the paramedics battling to save his life with surgery in the street, did nothing to slow down their spree.”

A few hours later the robbers sold Abdul’s phone and some foreign currency at a block of flats in Harrow Road.

They left pulling on balaclavas to hide their faces, according to CCTV and, at 1.30am, tried to rob a man in Porchester Road, Bays­water and stabbed him in the stomach.

An image of Gilmaney’s discarded knife

In Princess Square, they followed a man and stabbed him in the arm before, in Pembridge Road and at the junction with Portobello Road, they snatched a phone out of a woman’s hand.

At 2am they threatened a 16-year-old with knives and punched her in the face.

In Golders Green Road they stabbed a man in the stomach despite him handing over his wallet.

Police caught up with the moped and Gilmaney took off his helmet, believing that the officers would have to abandon their pursuit.

However, given the severity of the offences, officers were given authorisation to continue and in Broomsleigh Street, West Hampstead, Gilmaney was wrestled to the floor by a policeman. Thomas tried to hide underneath a car but the was spotted by police in a helicopter.

They had both discarded their knives, which were found in the back garden of a flat in Broomsleigh Street.

The Dragon Hall, where Abdul worked, has written an appreciation of his life.

It said: “The result, the bewildering, utter, and complete sense of loss facing his parents, brother and loved ones, has been heartbreaking to witness. If only those responsible had realised the total devastation that they would cause, then maybe, just maybe, Samad would be turning up to work tomorrow, all set to make the world a better place.”

His killers are due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on June 15.

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