Oct 3 2011 By Jessica Thompson
Ricky Smith, a 25yo man who died in a north London stabbing 14 years ago
A WITNESS appeal has been re-launched by police after new DNA evidence has been found, which links a historical Wembley stabbing to a murder in north London.
Detectives are reaching out to the public to come forward with information about either of the stabbings, which took place just over 14 years ago on the same night - Friday October 3 1997.
Ricky Smith, a 25-year-old floor fitter from the Highbury Park area, died after he was stabbed in the chest as he walked home with his partner after a night out. The seemingly unprovoked murder remains unsolved despite investigations.
Mr Smith, was heading home along Highbury Park with the mother of his two children on the night. As they walked near Hamilton Road a man approached him and immediately stabbed him in the chest.
He was rushed to Whittington Hospital and he died on arrival.
The attacker made off on foot along Highbury Park turning left into Aubert Park, right into Avenell Road and right into Conewood Street, which is opposite the old Arsenal football ground. Later, a blue baseball cap and a jacket were discovered in Conewood Street, as well as a five inch knife with a brass handle and two carrier bags.
As a result of recent forensic analysis on these items, officers have now been able to officially link via DNA Ricky's murder with a stabbing that took place two and a half hours earlier in Harlesden.
Shortly before 9.15pm a 21-year-old man was stabbed in the abdomen in Harlesden. Juan Marais, had been walking along College Road having just left Kensal Rise train station. He was heading to a party, and quickly realised someone was behind him. As he turned around, a man asked for the time. but as he began to respond the man pulled out a knife and stabbed him several times. After attacking him, the suspect picked up the victim's bag and walked away towards Kensal Rise station.
Mr Marais suffered serious injuries to his chest and abdomen but made a full recovery. The suspect in both attacks is described as a tall black man aged between 18 and 30 years.
Detective Inspector Colette Smyth, who is now investigating the case, said: "Someone holds the key to helping us solve this. We are determined to hold the perpetrator to account and to achieve closure for the family of Ricky and Mr Marais who have suffered for these last 14 years."
Ricky's father Keith Smith said: "There is not a day that goes by when we don't think about Ricky. He's in our thoughts every moment and it's almost impossible to imagine that it all happened 14 years ago. Our grandchildren have grown up without their dad and we want to know why this has happened."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Incident Room at Hendon on 020 8358 0100 alternatively, to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.