Teen killed in 'sustained' attack

Arsema Dawit, 15, was stabbed almost 60 times by her jealous ex-boyfriend, an inquest heard

Arsema Dawit, 15, was stabbed almost 60 times by her jealous ex-boyfriend, an inquest heard

First published in National News © by

A schoolgirl was stabbed to death in a "sustained" attack in a block of flats by her jealous ex-boyfriend, an inquest has heard.

Arsema Dawit, 15, was stabbed almost 60 times by Thomas Nugusse at Waterloo in central London in June 2008.

In a garbled phone call to emergency services, Nugusse, who was 21 at the time, said he had attacked her after finding out she had been cheating on him.

During the call, which was read to a jury at Southwark Coroner's Court by coroner Dr Andrew Harris, Nugusse said: "She was lying to me and she said she loved me and she is cheating me."

He added: "I choose I prefer to kill my girlfriend and then kill myself.

"I love you and I can't be without you."

Arsema's body was found covered in blood by neighbours in a lift in the flats in Matheson Lang Gardens at around 3.45pm on June 2 2008.

A knife was also found in the lift.

The inquest heard she had been stabbed almost 60 times, with more than 50 wounds to her neck and others to her back and chest.

Nugusse later confessed to Arsema's murder, but could not be tried because he suffered brain damage in a suicide attempt in prison.

In 2009, an Old Bailey jury was not permitted to return conventional innocent or guilty verdicts and instead found that Nugusse had "committed the acts".

During the 999 call, Nugusse, who was from Eritrea and had no family with him in England, said he had been going out with Arsema for around two years.

The university student said he helped her with her school work and that her family treated him well, saying "her mum is like my mum ... treating us sure good".

But he said he had found out Arsema had been seeing another man behind his back instead of going to church, as she told him she had been doing, and that it had been going on for three months.

He said he tried to talk with her, but was warned off by three men who he said threatened to kill him if he kept seeing her.

He said: "They were telling me, 'If you go out with this girl again then we will kill you'."

Nugusse told the operator he decided that he preferred to kill Arsema and himself.

The court also heard evidence from Arsema's schoolfriend, Heaven Emanuel, who said Arsema told her that Nugusse had harassed her and threatened to kill her.

Heaven said she first met Nugusse when the two girls were on a bus near Arsema's home in Waterloo in early 2008.

Nugusse tried to talk to the pair but Arsema refused to answer, telling Heaven to ignore him or he would not leave them alone.

Reading Heaven's evidence to the jury, Dr Harris said: "On this occasion Arsema didn't tell me anything about Thomas except his name.

"After this instance Arsema had been telling me that this man had been harassing her and threatening her. Whenever we leave school to go home Arsema is watchful before she boards the bus...

"At no time did Arsema tell me that Thomas was her friend. When I asked her where did she know Thomas, she said they used to see one another in the church.

"Then one day Arsema came to school with a bruise below her left eye. I asked her what was wrong.

"She told me Thomas had assaulted her and also that he had threatened to kill her.

"The next day she came to school and was exhausted physically, and said she couldn't sleep the night before as she had a nightmare of Thomas trying to kill her."

Heaven added that Arsema told her she had stopped going to church because she was afraid of meeting him there.

On the day Arsema died, the pair went home from school on different buses.

Heaven said in her evidence: "When I asked Arsema why Thomas was giving her a hard time, she said that Thomas wanted to have a relationship with her that she didn't want.

"She had been telling that the main reason for Thomas harassing her was this."

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