A teenager killed a man by plunging a knife into his heart during a confrontation in Birmingham city centre.
Alexander Habte fled the scene, dumped the weapon and tried to hide from police after fatally stabbing fellow Eritrean Samuel Simret,
He was found guilty of manslaughter after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court
and sent to a young offenders institution for 13 years.
Habte, of Conybere Street, Highgate, was cleared of murder.
The court heard he was aged 19 at the time of the killing near RK Wines off-licence in Summer Lane, close to the junction with Constitution Hill.
Habte, now aged 20, had met the victim on August 25 last year in City Cafe in Summer Lane, which was also frequented by other Eritreans.
But the men were both ejected after an argument.
Mr Simret was waiting for a bus home when he was again confronted by Habte, who had armed himself with a knife from the cafe.
After striking the fatal blow the killer fled to New Street Station where he took a train to Coventry, then a taxi to Leicester in a bid to “hide out.”
Police had conducted a finger-tip search at the scene after the killing (see video above).
In passing sentence Judge Simon Drew said: “Precisely what the nature of your relationship with Mr Simret will remain something of a mystery.
“Clearly there was antagonism between the two of you which ultimately lead to the argument that took place."
The scene of the stabbing at the junction of Constitution Hill and Summer Lane
He added: “You went and armed yourself with a knife from the kitchen. You were preparing yourself secretly to be at a significant advantage.
“It is clear from CCTV footage that Mr Simret crossed the road towards you. However there is no suggestion he was armed or did anything other than walk across the road.”
The judge said Habte had reacted “very quickly” to the face-to-face confrontation.
“Almost immediately you were swinging at him repeatedly with the knife,” he said. “It is not surprising that one of those blows penetrated through his body and into his heart and killed him.”
Jeremy Lynn, defending, said Habte was a man of previous good character who had made a perilous journey to Europe by boat from Libya.
He said there was provocation, that he had feared serious violence would be used against him and that he had made a “grave error of judgement.”
Man sentenced to 13 years in prison for manslaughter
A 20-year-old man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison today (Thursday) after stabbing an old acquaintance to death in a Birmingham street last summer.
Alex Habte, from Conybere Street, Highgate, was handed down the lengthy prison term after being convicted of the killing following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Officers arrested him after the knife attack on 26-year-old year old Samuel Simret outside an off-licence in Summer Lane, Newtown, was clearly captured on CCTV.
Police investigating the offence, which took place at around 7.45pm on August 23, were able to trace Habte thanks to numerous eyewitness accounts and CCTV images showing a man with his distinctive ‘bun’ hairstyle stabbing Mr Simret in the chest.
They later seized shoes and clothes from Habte’s home address that matched those worn by the offender in the CCTV. Mobile phone analysis also clearly linked him to the scene.
An argument first started between Habte and Mr Simret in a coffee shop on Summer Row around 45 minutes before the stabbing took place. Mr Simret left the scene with a friend, but as they walked home past the coffee shop around half an hour later, Habte called him over to where he was now standing at a nearby bus stop.
A fight broke out between the two men, Habte produced a knife and plunged it into Mr Simret’s chest.
An ambulance was called but tragically nothing could be done to save him and he died two days later in hospital.
Police arrested Habte in Leicester on August 26.
DI Paul Joyce, who headed the investigation, said he is pleased that the sentence will take a dangerous man off the streets for a long time.
“Habte and Samuel Simret had both come over to this country from Eritrea and were well known to each other. It seems they became involved in a dispute and Habte decided to arm himself.
“Unfortunately for him, the entire sequence of events was captured on CCTV and we were able to see him leaving his home in the clothes he was later seen wearing at the time of the manslaughter, stabbing Mr Simret in the chest and then running away from the scene.
“That evidence, along with numerous eyewitness accounts from people who knew both men, meant that we were able to build a convincing case and the court has recognised that with the sentence today.
“This was a tragic case of a young man senselessly losing his life but we hope the result today sends out a message that knife crime will not be tolerated on the streets of this city and we will vigorously pursue anyone who carries a knife or uses one."