Four jailed for 72 years for Peter Hagan party murder

Wandsworth Guardian: Dean Harmes Dean Harmes

The four men convicted of murdering teenager Peter Hagan at a birthday party have been jailed for a total of 72 years.

Mr Hagan, 16, from Brixton, was stabbed four times during the frenzied attack which took place at a flat in Albon House, Neville Gill Close, Wandsworth, on February 17 this year.

Jamaal Ferguson, 23, of Albon House, Neville Gill Close, Wandsworth, was jailed for 21 years for Mr Hagan's murder.

He was described by Judge Peter Rook as Mr Hagan's likely murderer and a "very dangerous" man.

Dean Harmes, 27, from Wentworth Court, Garratt Lane, Wandsworth, was handed a 17 year sentence for spraying CS gas in the room and assaulting the teenager before he was stabbed.

Rommel Martin, 22, from Fairgreen Road, Thornton Heath, was also jailed for 17 years.

Judge Rook said Martin kicked Mr Hagan after he had been stabbed, removed the murder weapon from the scene and threw it in the lake in nearby King George's Park.

A fourth defendant, Jamaal's brother Malki Ferguson, 22, was also jailed for 17 years for his role in the attack during which he attacked partgoers with a hammer.

The birthday party was being held to celebrate the 19th birthday of Jamilya Ferguson, the sister of the Ferguson brothers, and she had invited the group of younger boys, including Mr Hagan.

About 25 people attended but the revelry was cut short once fighting broke after Jamaal Ferguson had apparently been insulted by one of the younger group.

Within minutes he was seen grabbing a knife from the kitchen, before Harmes sprayed the living room with CS gas and started attacking partygoers with a bottle.

One witness, Mark Oduro, said he saw Jamaal Ferguson stab his friend with a knife before two other "older" boys started kicking, punching and bottling the fallen teen.

Judge Rook said Harmes sprayed the roomw ith CS gas in order to firstly "disorientate his targets", and then "enable the stabbing" to take place.

He added that Malki Fergsuon and Martin's role in attempting to mislead police, was the main reason for their long sentences.

All four defendants were told at the Old Bailey today that they would have to serve all of their life sentences before they were eligible for parole.

The jury took nine days to reach their verdict which was passed to Judge Rook on Tuesday afternoon.

As the sentences were handed down, audible gasps of shock could be heard from the defendants' family.

Police also had to separate a group of Mr Hagan's friend who were ridiculing the defendants' friends and family outside the court.

Mr Hagan bled to death in the stairwell of Albon House in the early hours of February 17, a pathologist told the court the fatal blow was a stab wound to the inner thigh The defence's entire case seemed to rest of the unreliability of the evidence provided to the court by a number of younger defendants, who were friends at the party and friends with Mr Hagan.

Detective Inspector Simon Pickford, who received high praise from Judge Rook for the investigation, said: "The level of violence used was extreme and there was little or no provocation to spark the violence.

"These four men attended a teenager's birthday party and whilst there armed themselves with an array of weapons including a knife, CS spray and a hammer.

"They were clearly prepared to kill or seriously injure anyone who crossed them.

"This has been a brutal and shocking case. I would like to pay tribute to the victim's family who have conducted themselves with dignity throughout the investigation and court case. I "I would also like to thank the many other guests at the party who supported the police investigation."

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