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Pair jailed for 18 years for stabbing refugees in Great Yarmouth after argument over damage to a car

PUBLISHED: 13:26 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:17 04 October 2018

Left to right: Apio Gomes and Junior Mampuya. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Left to right: Apio Gomes and Junior Mampuya. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Norfolk Constabulary

Two men who repeatedly stabbed three Iraqi refugees after a street argument over damage to a car have been jailed for 18 years each.

Apio Gomes, 21, and Junior Mampuya, 22, repeatedly stabbed three Kurdish men outside their home on St Peters Road on October 25 last year after a row over alleged damage to a car.

The pair had denied the charges but were found guilty by a jury after four hours on three counts of wounding with intent and returned to Norwich Court Court for sentencing on Thursday.

William Carter, prosecuting, said: “The men continue to live in fear of further retribution from their wider network of acquaintances.

“They struggle to sleep and one of them has had to give up his job in a kebab shop because he was frightened every time someone walks in.”

The three men were taken to James Paget University Hospital, where one victim stayed for seven days after suffering a collapsed lung.

Judge Maureen Bacon said: “You both still deny responsibility for stabbing your three victims.

“You came to live here recently to improve your lives and find work, and your three Kurdish victims were refugees seeking to escape their war-torn native Iraq.

“They were beginning to enjoy life in a peaceful country when this brutish attack changed all that.

“Gomes was aggrieved at the suggestion he had damaged a car, despite the owner retracting the statement and apologising immediately.

“The other victims came to stop you and told you they did not want any trouble but you summoned your friend Mampuya to bring knives and he was a willing armourer.

“You then ambushed the men and stabbed them repeatedly, each one in the back, then disposed of the knives and were washing your clothes when you were arrested.”

Throughout the trial, Gomes claimed the incident occurred in self-defence.

Andrew Thompson, defending Gomes, said: “The escalation of these events is his responsibility but it was not him that started it and he continues to say he acted in self-defence.

“He came to this country as an 18-year-old and since then he works 12 hour shifts in a chicken factory.

“He had gone out to collect some food and while cycling back he was wrongly accused of damaging a vehicle and within the course of the next few minutes his food ended up on the floor.”

The pair were jailed for 18 years for the first count, as well as nine years for the two further stabbings to be served concurrently.

Jude Durr, defending Mampuya, said: “This is a young man who has been described as a very polite and well-mannered gentleman with a thirst for knowledge since arriving at HMP Norwich.

“He is well liked among his fellow prisoners.

“It is very difficult to reconcile the circumstances of these events with the personality of this man with a very gentle disposition.

“This short spree of violence is wholly out of character.

“His involvement was unplanned and was a spontaneous, fast-moving outburst out of loyalty for his friend.

“He is still a very young man who has not wasted his time in custody, but it will blight his life and he only has himself to blame.”

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