THREE men have been found guilty of the knife-murder of Sunday League footballer, Ismail 'Izzy' Mohamed', in Slough's Salt Hill Park last year.

A jury at Reading Crown Court delivered guilty verdicts this afternoon (Friday) on Oladapo Obadare, 25, Ryan Fuller-Bent, 20 and Ricky Champion Musaba, 21.

The three were also found guilty of wounding with intent in relation to a second man, who managed to flee the scene with stab wounds and survived on Monday, July 10 in the early hours.

Additionally Obadare, who used the knife to kill Mr Mohamed, 24, was found guilty of trying to intimidate a witness connected with the case while in prison on remand. He had already pleaded guilty to possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.

Judge Johanna Cutts adjourned sentencing of the three until May 21.

Before the verdicts were read out, she told the court: "I know there are people here with a great interest in the verdicts. I ask them to listen and accept the verdicts in silence."

After they were read out, two women broke down in the public gallery and were comforted and escorted from the courtroom.

The jury was only sent out to deliberate today (Friday) and took around five hours to come back.

Mr Mohamed, who played for Burnham based team, Real Milan, was celebrating his 24th birthday when he was stabbed in the park near the skateboard ramp. He had gathered there with friends. 

The court had heard claims that Obadare had confronted Mr Mohamed in the park with Fuller-Bent and Musaba, allegedly in a row over drugs, and whether Mr Mohamed was selling on his 'territory'.

The judge had said in summing up that there was "no doubt" the defendants were present at Mr Mohamed's stabbing, "and that Obadare’s hand was on the knife when Mr Mohamed was stabbed".

However, the defence had claimed that Mr Mohamed had brought the knife to the park himself and attacked Obadare, but Obadare managed to disarm him, and held the knife out to encourage him to back away. At this point, it was claimed Mr Mohamed ‘rushed’ Obadare and impaled himself on his own knife. This was rejected by the jury in delivering their verdicts today.

The prosecution had always said that Obadare himself brought the knife to the scene and stabbed Mr Mohamed over a dispute involving drugs, with the support of Fuller-Bent and Musaba.

The court had also earlier heard that Obadare had three previous convictions for carrying knives and when he was arrested more of them were found at his flat.

'Senseless assault'

A Post-Mortem examination concluded the cause of Mr Mohamed's death was multiple organ failure caused by a stab wound to the abdomen. Obadare and Fuller-Bent were charged with murder on September 29 last year and Musaba was later charged on November 1.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Andy Shearwood, of Major Crime, said: “Ismail ‘Izzy’ Mohamed, lost his life following a senseless assault while celebrating his 24th birthday with his friends. In this case the defendants acted together. They had been dealing drugs on the night Izzy was killed and may have thought Izzy’s group of friends were rival drug dealers before they confronted them.

“Tragically as a result of the single stab wound inflicted, Izzy died in hospital on July 31 last year. Too often we are reminded of the danger of carrying and using knives, the devastating consequences and the impact such a short moment in time has on the victim, their family and friends. Violence and knife crime will never be tolerated in the Thames Valley and the offenders now have a long time in custody to reflect on their actions that night.

“Nothing will ever bring Izzy back to his family, however I hope the verdict goes some way towards helping them move forward from what must be an unimaginably painful time in their lives.”