Teenager not guilty of murdering homeless man in park

Wael Farroukh was found not guilty of murder at the Old Bailey
Wael Farroukh was found not guilty of murder at the Old Bailey [PA MEDIA]

A teenage Syrian refugee has been cleared of killing a drunk homeless man with a broken bottle in a park.

Last July, police dropped Milton Hurlington in the park in Wembley, north London to keep him out of trouble but hours later he was found fatally wounded.

Wael Farroukh, 19, denied murder and having an offensive weapon claiming he had acted in self-defence and had no intention to kill or really harm Mr Hurlington.

A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for 13 hours and 30 minutes before finding the defendant not guilty of murder and manslaughter but guilty of the weapon charge.

'Difficult background'

Judge Ian Bourne KC sentenced the teenager to nine months in prison, but said he would serve no further time, as he had been on remand for 11 months.

He told the defendant: "You were 18 at the time this took place. You came to the UK in 2021, when you were obviously much younger, from Syria.

"You came from a very difficult background and you left behind your parents."

The court was told the defendant had suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his experiences in Syria.

Judge Bourne said that "on any view", Mr Hurlington was "behaving unusually" on the day of his death.

On 17 July, police had been called over the 42-year-old's behaviour towards a bus driver and at a Lidl supermarket, jurors were told.

In the first instance the court heard he had accused the driver of being racist and damaged a wing mirror on his vehicle, while in the second it was alleged he had tried to steal alcohol.

Officers escorted him out of the shop and left him at King Edward VII park.

'Aggressive and rude'

Previously, Julian Evans KC, prosecuting, said Mr Hurlington was taken to the park so he would not come into "conflict" with anyone.

But once there, Mr Hurlington was "provocative" and "offensive" towards Farroukh and his friends, Mr Evans said.

The group moved away but Mr Hurlington followed and tried to talk with them some more, jurors were told.

It was claimed the defendant picked up and smashed Mr Hurlington's vodka bottle, chased him and stabbed him twice.

Mr Hurlington left elbow was wounded.

But he also had a 5cm (1.9in) deep injury to his right armpit which proved fatal.

Upon arrest, Mr Farroukh initially denied the attack on Mr Hurlington before telling police the victim insulted him and his friends.

Mr Evans told jurors the defendant now accepted he injured Mr Hurlington.

The prosecutor said: "It is his case that he believed that Milton was going to attack him and his friends. As a result, he smashed a bottle on the ground to deter him.

"It is his case that Milton continued to be aggressive and rude, Milton assaulted him, and he responded. He injured Milton with the bottle, he was acting in self-defence."

Related internet links