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Life for a callous killer of a hard-working man
Victim Mohamed Ali Maslah
By Tan Parsons
Kentish Town, November 08, 2007 - A KNIFE-wielding maniac who stabbed a Kentish Town taxi driver to death in a row over a fare has been jailed for life.
Somalian mini-cab driver and father-of-five Mohamed Ali Maslah, 41, from the Wendling estate in Haverstock Road, was knifed 11 times in the back and head by Desmond Wilson on May 5 this year.
A jury at the Old Bailey found 22-year-old Wilson guilty of murder on Monday and Judge Anthony Morris QC sentenced him to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum term of 15 years.
During the trial Wilson admitted intending to stab Mr. Maslah, but said it was in self-defense and denied the murder charge. He claimed Mr. Maslah was trying to kill him using a metal pole and the taxi as a battering ram.
"He was making demands for money. Things escalated from there. I knew I was in the right about the cab fare," he said.
Mr. Maslah fled his homeland in 1989 to escape the civil war in Somalia, his wife Sahra joining him in 1991 after he was granted asylum.
He was working for Archway Cars at the time of his killing, and had collected Wilson and his then girlfriend Melissa Rose from Caledonian Road in his silver Vauxhall Zafira at around 2.40am.
At 3am at least four eye-witnesses were woken by an argument that erupted outside McIndoe Court in Sherborne Street, Islington.
A witness, referred to during the trial as Miss F, told the court: "There was a lot of screaming and shouting. That's not an unusual thing, but this particular night it was very loud.
"The first thing I saw was two men having an argument and a woman shouting trying to calm them. She was trying to stop her partner, to stop what he was doing. He was being very aggressive towards the driver and she was trying to stop it."
Wilson goaded the driver after he punched the cab, which caused Mr. Maslah to get out waving a metal bar, she said.
"I immediately thought this was going to end in a bad way," she continued. " Wilson took control of the situation and was hitting the driver from behind. It was just continuous."
Police were quick to condemn the carrying of knives after the guilty verdict.
Detective Inspector Steve McCabe said outside the court: "Mohammed Maslah was a hard-working man, trying to provide a better life for his wife and five children, here in the UK.
"This is a tragic case where Mr. Maslah who, while providing a public service, was brutally stabbed and left to die in the street.
"The carrying of knives can end in disaster. Desmond Wilson chose to arm himself with a knife as he went out that evening, which he subsequently used to disastrous effect. I appeal to others who may regularly arm themselves with knives, to think twice and recall this tragic and needless death."