David Nyamupfukudza gets life sentence for murder of Sylvester Akapalara in Peckham

15:25 30 May 2012

David Nyamupfukudza who has been jailed for life for shooting aspiring athlete Sylvester Akapalara

David Nyamupfukudza who has been jailed for life for shooting aspiring athlete Sylvester Akapalara

A teenager has been sentenced to murdering an aspiring athlete in Peckham, south London.

David Nyamupfukudza, 19, was told he must serve at least 26 years in jail for the murder of Sylvester Akapalara in December 2010.

Mr Akapalara was a budding athlete who was living with a foster family in New Cross, south-east London.

The 17-year-old was shot dead on the Pelican Estate in Peckham.

His two friends were stabbed and the attackers also tried to shoot them but the gun jammed.

Passing sentence at the Old Bailey today, Judge Timothy Pontius said: “It matters very little for the purposes of sentencing why Sylvester Akapalara was shot dead at the end of 2010, but it seems likely that he was just one of many victims, mostly in their teens, who have been targeted over the last few years in acts of mindless and appalling violence simply because of their membership or assumed membership of an opposing gang.

“Young men and mere boys for whatever reason - either social deprivation, unemployment, simple boredom or arrogant adolescent bravado - seem to be attracted by the idea of being part of a group that does not recognise and still less observes accepted boundaries of decent human behaviour within the communities in which they live.

“Now yet another mother and also an adoptive family have been left desolate and distraught.”

He said Mr Akapalara, who was a member of Herne Hill Harriers athletics club, was a “promising young athlete of remarkable ability”.

The judge went on: “You were by the jury’s unanimous finding a willing participant in that act of cold-blooded murder.

“I’m able to accept that there was no specific targeting of Sylvester Akapalara as opposed to any other remember of a rival gang.

“Rather, he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time by the most tragic of circumstances.”

In mitigation, the court heard that Nyamupfukudza was not in possession of the gun until the group met at the estate.

He had also only just turned 18 at the time of the murder.

As he was taken down, Nyamupfukudza called out: “I just hope you know you’ve prosecuted and sentenced an innocent man. God will see me out of this.”

Nyamupfukudza was given a 22 year sentence to run concurrently for the attempted murder of Mr Akapalara’s friend.

Latest Stories

37 minutes ago
This undated image shows a frame from a video released by Islamic State militants that purports to show the killing of journalist James Foley  (AP Photo)

An American journalist has been beheaded on video by an ISIS fighter in Syria - who is believed to be from London.

Read more
This photo shows Mr Nash with the bike before it was stolen. He has been training on it all year and urgently needs to recover it before the race on September 21.  [Image courtesy of Metropolitan Police]

Thieves have stolen a bicycle worth £7,000 - just weeks before its owner hoped to raise money for cancer sufferers in a charity triathlon.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:37
Alfred Ajani was spotted at Waterloo this morning (Picture: Twitter/@JayrokOnline)

A graduate found success with an unorthodox method of jobseeking after he stood at Waterloo station with a placard stating his credentials during rush-hour.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Can you guess the Tube station just from the outside? (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

How well do you know your Tube stations? Can you guess these Underground stops from the pictures taken outside them?

Read more
But which London?! [Photo courtesy of Basher Eyre]

You might know London like the back of your hand, but how well do you know the other Londons - and London landmarks - across the world?

Read more
The prize is glory (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It used to be Manhattan that was famous for its majestic skyline, but now our fair city is catching up. Do you know your Shard from your Heron Tower?

Read more