A plumber who killed a Deliveroo driver before going on the run for more than a year has been found guilty of murder.
Nathan Smith, 28, fatally stabbed part-time delivery driver Takieddine Boudhane, 30, in a road rage attack on the evening of January 3, 2020.
Smith, of Archway, north London, fled the country just hours after the attack using his brother’s passport and bank card.
After 17 months on the run in Europe, he was caught by police and earlier today was found guilty of murder. Smith is due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey tomorrow.
The court heard Smith, driving a white Volkswagen van, and moped rider Mr Boudhane had an argument while driving in Finsbury Park, north London before the fatal confrontation.
Mr Boudhane, a chef, had become upset after the pair had made a right turn and words were exchanged, prosecutor Julian Evans QC had told jurors. Both vehicles came to a stop and CCTV played in court showed that as Mr Boudhane got off his moped, Smith emerged from the van with a knife in his hand and ran towards him.
Smith went “on the attack” and Mr Boudhane used his crash helmet to ward him off, the court heard. Even when the incident appeared to end, Smith was “simply not prepared to let things rest there”, Mr Evans said.
Describing CCTV footage of the incident, the prosecutor said: “As Smith ran towards him, Takieddine swung his crash helmet towards Smith. This action, again say the prosecution, was defensive.
“As Smith stepped on to the pavement, he ducked below the swinging crash helmet, and swung his knife twice, in quick succession, towards Takieddine’s upper body.
“It is the prosecution case that one of those two rapid blows with the knife, each delivered with force, entered Takieddine’s chest.”
Despite suffering a 7.5cm wound, Mr Boudhane ran after Smith and hit the side of the van with his crash helmet as he drove off, the court heard. Mr Boudhane then collapsed on the ground and despite the efforts of medics at the scene, he died at 7.42pm.
The court heard Smith drove home after carrying out the attack and said nothing to his family about what had happened. The next day, he took a flight from Luton Airport to Austria using his brother’s passport and bank card.
When police searched for him at his parents’ address, the defendant’s dad showed them a video believed to be from his son featuring views of lakes and mountains. Police went on to recover Smith’s van and found bloodstains matching the victim’s DNA.
In February 2020, an arrest warrant was issued for Smith and he was placed on Europol’s Most Wanted Fugitives list. He was located in Portugal and arrived back in London on June 3, 2021 when he was charged with murder.
During his trial, Smith claimed he had acted “defensively” after the victim produced a screwdriver. He told jurors: “From the beginning I’m intending to scare him. The only thing that scared him was me coming towards him swinging a knife. I do not remember intending to hit him with a knife.
“He swung for me, I swung back. I was not angry. I was scared at this point.”
Despite Smith’s claims, jurors found the plumber guilty of murder after deliberating for three hours.
Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, who led the investigation, said: “Smith thought he could get away with murder by leaving the UK but we never gave up our efforts to find him, using all of the resources at the Met’s disposal.
“It is an absolute tragedy for Taki and his family that what seemed to start as a minor road traffic dispute led to him losing his life. This case yet again illustrates the dangers that weapons cause on our streets and I hope anyone considering carrying a knife thinks again after seeing the devastation this case has wreaked on two sets of families.”
Judge Mark Lucraft QC remanded Smith into custody until sentencing on Thursday, August 25.