A teenager has been handed a life sentence, with a minimum of having to serve 22 years in jail, for murdering another teenager in front of his family in Sydenham.
Romello Harley, 19, of Kirkdale, Sydenham was jailed after killing Tashawn Watt, also 19, at his family home on Miall Walk, SE26 in the evening of June 25 last year. He was convicted of murder and possession of a deadly weapon on March 21.
Tashawn, who wanted to be a banker, died at the scene after Harley stabbed in the chest. Speaking at the trial, his mother described ‘Tata’ as a “calm, kind” character who would never willingly get into a fight.
She went on: “I can see that day so vividly and I relive it everyday. My house does not feel the same, it’s missing Tata. I wake up every day and expect to hear the boys talking, the house is now so quiet now that Tata has gone. I sometimes talk to Tata to feel closer to him.
“My last memory of Tata was him dying on the floor in front of me. I decided to go and see Tata in the chapel to try to get rid of this image from my head. Tata looked sad like it wasn’t his time to go, it didn’t seem right he was taken so soon from us.
“Tata is missing from every family photo. Every birthday, every Christmas Day, every family occasion Tata is missing.
“There’s not a minute or hour in the day where Tata doesn’t come into my head. I sometimes ask how I can go on. The fact this was done by someone who was so close to Tata and our family is hard for me to come to terms with. We showed Romello nothing but kindness and allowed him into our home as though he was one of our family members. I sometimes have questions which I know will never be answered. Why did he do this? Does he feel any remorse?
“Me and my family are happy justice has been done but no sentence will ever bring Tata back. I take comfort in the fact we have such warm memories of Tata. My Tata. Always missed. Always remembered. Always loved.”
Tashawn’s brother added: “Tata is my brother and one of my best friends. Tata was kind, quiet, and humble. He was popular with our friends, nobody ever had a bad word to say about him.
“Seeing Tata die in front of me was so hard. I don’t know if I would ever be able to put into words how difficult this was for me. I felt so helpless. I wish I could rewind and go back to that day and change what happened.
“Going to court and speaking about what happened was hard but I knew I had to do it as I wanted to get justice for Tata. The trial was very difficult, as I felt like I was seeing Tata die in front of me again.
“I go to Tata’s grave every day so I can feel close to him and it’s hard for me to move on. It upsets me that Tata will never be there at any birthday party, he will never be an uncle to my children or see me if I ever get married. His whole life was taken away from him. Tata, my brother, I will always remember you.”
Police worked out that Harley had got into an argument with a relative of Tashawn’s at the Watts’ family home a short time before the incident. He was asked to leave.
He went to get a knife and came back to the area where he tried to lure Tashawn to an alleyway. Tashawn refused to go with him. Harley then stabbed Tashawn in front of his family.
After the attack, Harley dropped the knife and ran away from the scene. As well as there being several witnesses to the incident, the attack was also caught on CCTV.
Harley went into hiding and officers began an urgent manhunt to find him. On June 28, he handed himself in at Lewisham Police Station and was arrested on suspicion of murder.