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Barking teen found guilty of murdering man in drug dispute

Nathan Kintenge on board a train as he travelled to Gillingham

A teenager from Barking has been found guilty of murdering a man who he chased through the streets and stabbed to death.

Nathan Kitenge, of King Edwards Road, claimed someone had stolen his clothes to frame him to carry out the brutal attack just before Christmas.

But a jury at Maidstone Crown Court saw through the drug dealer’s lies and he was found guilty today.

Kitenge, 18, travelled by train to Gillingham on Friday, 20 December 2019. He arrived there shortly after midday, and within an hour had killed Tony Eastwood.

CCTV cameras captured Kitenge walking through the town and spotting Mr Eastwood, 35, talking on his mobile phone in the High Street.

He then followed him to Fox Street, where words were briefly exchanged before Mr Eastwood attempted to run away.

However, Kitenge quickly caught up with him before stabbing him five times to the head and body.

Kent Police officers and medical personnel from South East Coast Ambulance Service attended but Mr Eastwood was declared dead at the scene.

It is suspected the incident was due to a drug-related dispute and that Kitenge and Mr Eastwood knew each other.

CCTV cameras then caught Kintege running from the scene.

Kitenge was arrested on a Eurostar train as he attempted to flee the country on Saturday, 11 January and subsequently charged with murder.

Just days before his trial was due to start, Kitenge claimed he had been robbed of his clothes and possessions during a 19-minute gap in the CCTV footage where his whereabouts were unknown, and that the person responsible must have killed Mr Eastwood.

However, police were able to prove that the man who arrived by train in Gillingham was the same person who carried out the attack after demonstrating that he walked the same way and had the same habit of pulling the back of his top down. His mobile phone was also in his possession before and after the incident.

Detective Chief Inspector Tristan Kluibenschadl said: “County lines drug dealing is a problem shared by communities the length and breadth of the UK, with those responsible often committing acts of extreme violence in order to protect their particular brand.

“We cannot be sure of the reason why Nathan Kitenge targeted Tony Eastwood, but what is certain is that he murdered him in broad daylight with no thought for the effect it would have on Mr Eastwood’s family and friends, those who witnessed the stabbing and the wider community.

“Kitenge’s excuse that somebody else stole his clothes before attacking Mr Eastwood was ludicrous and I was confident the jury would see through his lies. However, it is thanks to the fantastic work of my officers who analysed hours of CCTV footage and telephone records that it could be proven beyond any reasonable doubt that Kitenge was the person responsible.

“Class A drugs ruin lives, as this case tragically proves in relation to both Mr Eastwood and Kitenge himself, who at just 18 will now spend a significant portion of his adult life behind bars.

“I hope this result sends a clear message that Kent Police takes a zero tolerance approach towards those who bring such unacceptable levels of violence into our county. We simply will not stand for it.”

Kitenge will be sentenced at a later date.

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