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Murderer of Croydon teenager Fico Dougan jailed for minimum of 14 years

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THE 'budding psychopath' teen who murdered student Fico Dougan has been jailed for a minimum term of 14 years. Uriah Gardner, 17, of Mitcham, was sentenced this morning at the Old Bailey after being convicted at trial on May 25. Gardner stabbed Fico, 17, repeatedly with a knife from the kitchen while they visited mutual friends in Ockley Road, Broad Green, on September 25 last year, in an unprovoked attack. Sentencing, Judge Stephen Kramer told Gardner, who has a history of violent offending, he had "deprived a family of a much-loved son, grandson, brother and uncle." He added: "This was rightly described as a senseless killing of someone you had only met and been with for a few minutes." Gardner fled the house after the attack and went home, throwing away the knife on the way and setting fire to his jeans and trainers at home in an attempt to hide evidence. Jurors rejected his defence that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following the sudden death of his half-brother, and convicted him of murder following a week-long trial at the Old Bailey. Judge Kramer said today that Gardner was not mentally ill but had a violent temper, poor communication skills, and underdeveloped problem-solving skills. He noted a psychiatrist's report that Gardner showed many traits of a personality disorder, including recklessness, compulsiveness and lack of empathy, but that diagnosis could not be made in someone so young. He added: "Dr (Phillip) Joseph described you succinctly as a 'budding psychopath' with a potential for violence, and your criminal record supports that." The court heard of Gardner's criminal convictions starting with sexual assault when he was 13 and including robbery and grievous bodily harm. Gardner had not been jailed for those offences, prompting questions from Fico's parents, reported in the Advertiser last month, as to whether more could have been done to prevent their son's murder. Mitigating, David Nathan QC said Gardner was sorry and his behavior that day was "irrational" and "out of control" and there could be "no excuse or justification". He told Judge Kramer: "He asked me to say to you that whatever sentence you impose that he is deeply sorry for what happened and he does not himself understand really why he behaved as he did." He added: "It is very difficult for me to seek to go inside this young man's head and to try and explain to the court what caused him to explode in this appalling way with the consequences that followed." The trial had heard how Gardner had smoked cannabis earlier that day and listened to rap music after allegedly saying it made him "want to stab somebody." He had a "vacant stare" moments before grabbing the knife from the kitchen block and was annoyed over suggestions Fico may have acted inappropriately towards a relative and the whereabouts of his bike, the court had heard. Judge Kramer said one of the murder's aggravating features was its commission in front of two teenage witnesses as well as a two-year-old girl, but accepted it was not pre-meditated. Wearing a jumper with BKYLN written on it, Gardner spoke only to confirm his name before being taken to the cells. Fico's parents, Sandra Opoku and Ernest Dougan, of Thornton Heath, were not at court today, having attended every day of the trial. They along with family and friends released lanterns by Fico's grave in Thornton Heath on May 31, the day he would have turned 18. Fico was studying at John Ruskin college at the time of his death having previously attended Archbishop Tenison's school. He was described by his family as a "wonderful" son who "always wanted to put a smile on everyone's face." CRIMINAL PAST: Gardner's previous convictions - October 2010: Sexual assault; referral order. - February 2011: Robbery; supervision requirement and a youth rehabilitation order. - April 2011: Robbery - March 2011: Theft from a person; compensation order - June 2012: Criminal damage; 12-month conditional discharge. - August 2012: Violent disorder, escaping from lawful custody and grievous bodily harm; various orders made. - October 2012: theft from a person; conditional discharge of 12 months. - June 2013: Possessing cannabis in breach of a conditional discharge; given another conditional discharge along with various other orders. His lawyer told the court his grievous bodily harm conviction related to a police officer falling down the stairs and hurting his leg during Gardner's escape from custody.

Murderer of Croydon teenager Fico Dougan jailed for minimum of 14 years


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