Guilty: Fugitive who murdered ‘peacemaker’ trying to stop street fight outside Shoreditch nightclub
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 November 2020
A killer who fled the country after stabbing a stranger trying to break up a street brawl on a night out in Shoreditch has been convicted by a jury of his murder.
Tyla Gopaul was found guilty at the Old Bailey of killing father-of-two Zakaria Abukar Sharif Ali outside the Rolling Stock nightclub in Kingsland Road before he went on the run for a year.
A row broke out after revellers spilled onto the street at 6am on November 24, 2018, when the club closed, which then escalated when Gopaul pulled a knife.
Zakaria tried calming things down when his killer began lunging with the knife. The 26-year-old took a few steps back, then collapsed with stab wounds.
Paramedics from the Air Ambulance service arrived from Whitechapel and treated him at the scene, then rushed him to hospital. But he died two hours later, the East London Advertiser reported at the time.
“This was a senseless attack,” Det Insp Rita Tierney said. “Zakaria was acting as a peacemaker trying to calm the situation with a group who had never met each other before, but it quickly escalated with terrible results.
“The suffering of his family has been prolonged by Gopaul’s actions, then having fled the country to avoid facing justice for his crime. They have had to wait knowing the man responsible for Zakaria’s death was abroad and walking free.”
Gopaul had caught a flight to Turkey after the stabbing outside the nightclub, then travelled on to Northern Cyprus. It was another 12 months before he was finally arrested after being extradited from Cyprus back to London and charged with Zakaria’s murder.
Zakaria was married with a six-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. He was the oldest of seven children.
His youngest sister Bushra Sharif-Ali said after the sentencing: “We all looked up to Zak, the kindest and the most helpful person you could ever meet.
“We couldn’t believe he was gone. I struggle every day to understand why this happened.”
Zak’s killer got help from teenager Destiny Bannerman to make plans to leave the country. The 19-year-old from Holloway in north London pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey in June to perverting justice and assisting an offender. She is also being sentenced on Thursday.
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