St Patrick’s Day party stabbing: Rowmando Lewis sentenced to life for murder of Tyrone Silcott
- Credit: Shirly MacDonald
A Ridley Road market trader has been jailed for life for slitting the throat of another party-goer at a St Patrick’s Day celebration, over a trivial dispute about a microphone.
Rowmando Lewis, 28, “reacted angrily and violently in the heat of the moment”, and was seen by several witnesses pulling a knife “that was all too readily to hand” as he went on to murder father-of-two Tyrone Silcott.
During a week-long trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, jurors heard how both men had been drinking heavily at a party held at Lewis’ distant cousin Jasmine’s home in Towpath Walk, Homerton on March 18.
An argument had broken out an hour before the party came to an end at 8am, when a woman took a microphone which was connected to the laptop being used to play music in the lounge, and started to “big up Jasmine”.
Mr Silcott, known as Sylvester, grabbed the microphone off her and began to use it himself. Their dispute spilled outside the house by the canal towpath, where the woman apparently became aggressive, and broke a bottle and held up the broken part.
Lewis intervened, and was heard laying into Sylvester asking him “why you talking to the women like that?” according to the party host Jasmine.
The proceeding sequence of events was “fast and took others present by surprise”, said prosecutor Mr Atkinson for the CPS.
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“Lewis was confronting Sylvester with his chest puffed out, and was leaning into Sylvester’s face,” he added.
“He pushed Sylvester to the chest, and there was a scuffle between the defendant and deceased.”
One witness, identified to the court only as Donnette, claimed she saw Lewis pull a knife from his waistband and thrust it two or three times into Sylvester’s upper body and neck.
She described how Lewis, who she identified to police through his Facebook page, then walked away as Sylvester fell to the floor, bleeding heavily.
Jasmine also gave evidence in court against her “distant cousin”, who she claims she saw holding a “pointy shiny object”, while her “best friend” Sylvester lay dying on the floor.
Another party guest, Shavonne had seen Sylvester “cussing” Lewis, and later saw Lewis approach him with a knife which he pulled out from his waist area, to cut Sylvester’s throat.
And another woman, Francesca, saw “the man who she had seen arguing with Sylvester” jump forward and make a movement as he held something in his right hand, “jagging it towards Sylvester’s lower body”, before he fell to the floor.
“None of these witnesses had expected such a sudden incident of violence in the context of the latter part of a party, which they described before this as having a good atmosphere,” said Mr Atkinson.
“The events themselves were as fast moving and as short in their duration as they were unexpected and distressing.”
The fatal stab wound went 10cm deep into Sylvester’s throat and through his thyroid gland, windpipe, and the carotid artery which takes blood to the brain – and out again through his neck.
Bleeding would have been “immediate and very profuse”, leading to “rapid” death, according to Home Office pathologist Robert Chapman.
Sylvester, 37, was also stabbed at the top of his back, with the blade going right through his body and exiting the front of his arm.
Paramedics tried to save his life but he was pronounced dead at the scene half an hour later.
During the trial Lewis, 28, claimed he had seen two men running away from the scene who could have been suspects.
But the prosecution questioned why he had only informed police about them five months after the killing.
“There was no need to talk about it,” said Lewis, a dad-of-two from Montserrat who came to England a decade ago,
“No need?” asked Mr Atkinson.
“Did it occur to you those two people might have been responsible for what happened to Sylvester? The police were investigating whether you were a killer and you didn’t tell them? The people at the scene thought you did it, Omarlie (prosecution witness) thought you did it. Your family were telling you what was being said on social media about you being a killer, and you didn’t tell them you had seen two people running away? You didn’t want to help them find those responsible?”
Lewis, who sold clothes he printed at Ridley Road Market, replied: “I didn’t know they had done it.”
A jury unanimously found Lewis of Cunningham Avenue, Enfield, guilty of murder and guilty of possession of an offensive weapon.
A six month sentence for the knife will run concurrently to a 21 year minimum term for murder.