The mother of murdered 17-year-old Folajimi Orebiyi who bleed to death in Notting Hill has spoke of her devastation of losing her son.
Yinka Bankole was speaking hours after a 15-year-old boy was found guilty of his murder at the Old Bailey on Tuesday (January 24), while a 17-year-old co-defendant, accused of encouraging the daylight attack, was acquitted of the charge. They cannot be named for legal reasons.
The mother said the death of her son, affectionately known as Fola, was the “most devastating moment of my life” and that no prison sentence would be long enough for his murderer, before urging the government to do more to tackle knife crime.
Her statement came shortly before Fola’s brother Ola wrote a short and moving message to his brother on Facebook on Wednesday (January 25) morning.
Fola, from Notting Hill, was stabbed in the back and neck on Portobello Road on July 3 last year.
He had been out with a friend in Colville Square when he was involved in an altercation with some boys, and headed to Portobello Road expecting a fist fight to settle a long-running dispute, the court heard.
However, during the trial the jury was told he was “ambushed” and “singled out and stabbed to death” within seconds.
While the guilty verdict was read out by the jury, Fola’s family held hands and wept in court. The 15-year-old will be sentenced on February 10.
Speaking afterwards, the mother said Fola, who attended Chelsea Academy and planned to go to university , was a “vibrant and intelligent young man, with a bright future ahead of him”, who did not trouble police or mix with gangs.
She continued: “I was in labour for 23 hours with him, yet it took less than four minutes to stab him to death.
“To me this is the most devastating moment of my life. Knowing that I wasn’t there to protect my son, I will have to live with that for the rest of my life.
"Yet to the system, just another figure added to the statistics.
“In an act that took less than four minutes, several lives were ruined, including that of the boy that has been found guilty of Fola’s murder.
"No length of time will be long enough for what he did.”
She said the death had devastated her entire family, friends, community and members of their church.
And referring to the tragic stabbing of a teenager in Kensal Green she added: “The newspapers and the media are more and more frequently featuring incidents involving violent knife crime, and only yesterday [Monday January 23] I am sad to read that a 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death in London.
“How many more of our children have to die before the government act?"
In a separate tribute, big brother Ola praised his “Don”.
He wrote: “If there really was any justice in this world, we would be planning to turn it up to the fullest for your 18th in 25 days. Go to places and see things, just cos we can now. A couple of young adults about to take it all by storm.
“I refuse to walk this journey alone and although you’ll never be physically here, we’re building this Kingdom together.
"You’ve got some pretty amazing friends and that just confirms how much of an amazing guy you’ll always be.
“I love you baby bro, forever.
“Now rest up my Don.”
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app
You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area