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Chris Foster: four men jailed over ‘mistaken identity’ killing

London SE1 website team

Four men have been sentenced at the Old Bailey in connection with the murder of 34-year-old Christopher Foster in Borough High Street who was killed in a failed revenge attack last November.

Chris Foster: four men jailed over ‘mistaken identity’ killing
Aytach Lisani, Billy Dove, Aytach Lisani and Rocky Djelal
Chris Foster
Chris Foster

33-year-old Aytach Lisani of Brentwood had previously pleaded guilty to murder at the Old Bailey. He was sentenced on Friday to life imprisonment and ordered to serve a minimum term of 23 years.

Billy Dove, 30, of Setchell Way SE1 previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and was sentenced on Friday to six years and six months.

38-year-old Ali Lisani from Basildon – who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause GBH – was sentenced to seven years and six months.

Rocky Djelal, 34, of Layard Square, Bermondsey, today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause GBH and was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

The four had previously appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday 7 November with Mohammed Aalamani and Ricky Huggins who were both acquitted of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.

Joanna Stevens and Michael Gore were acquitted of perverting the course of justice.

The murder and perverting the course of justice charges related to the killing of Chris Foster; the conspiracy to cause GBH charges related to the planned attack on the intended target.

"Chris Foster was an entirely innocent party just out for a drink that night,"
said Detective Chief Inspector John Sandlin.

"His only crime was looking similar to the person the defendants were hunting down when they seized the opportunity to attack the man they thought responsible for an earlier incident, but they were wrong and Chris Foster, a hard-working father, paid with his life."

The jury heard that on the evening of Friday 29 November 2013 Chris Foster was standing with a friend in an alleyway outside the St Christopher's Inn pub on Borough High Street.

The pair were enjoying a last drink outside after an evening with friends visiting various pubs.

A group of men, including some of the defendants, suddenly appeared. Their faces were hidden by hoods and scarves and at least one had a bat and another had a knife.

Chris was stabbed in the back from behind.

He managed to get inside the pub where he collapsed to the floor. He died 90 minutes later at the Royal London Hospital.

Chris, from Southwark, worked in administration for a firm of lawyers and was father to a four-year-old girl.

The court heard the defendants had mistaken Chris for another man, who was in the same area that evening and was suspected weeks earlier of slashing the face of a cousin of the Lisani brothers.

Mobile phone records showed Dove had seen the man in an alleyway next to another pub close to St Christopher's Inn that night and then called the Lisanis' cousin.

The cousin immediately called Aytach Lisani, sparking a series of phone calls between the defendants.

At 11.31pm CCTV footage captured the group meeting in Borough High Street then congregating at one end of the alleyway before walking down. They were described as being "pumped-up" and ready to cause trouble.

Aytach Lisani admitted stabbing Chris – believing him to be the other man.

Various witnesses in the area saw the defendants and described one as carrying a knife with a long thin blade 10-14 inches long. CCTV showed that Aytach Lisani was responsible.

Following the murder Aytach Lasini drove to Brentwood and the others also dispersed.

CCTV footage, witness accounts and mobile phone analysis identified each of the defendants and they were subsequently arrested and charged.

Chris's mother Jean said at court: "Chris was a good son, devoted dad and loyal friend.

"The most precious person in his young daughter Christina's life has been taken from her and left a void in ours that will never be filled.

"I am left with the daily questions of why and how did daddy die and I still don't know how to explain this senseless murder.

"We would like to thank friends, family and employers for their ongoing support. With special thanks to the Metropolitan Police and family liaison officer who have done an amazing job in bringing this case to trial and keeping us up-to-date with proceedings.

"We would also like to thank the National Homicide Service at Victim Support for their invaluable help with the aftermath that occurred after Chris's murder."

Enquiries continue into further suspects believed to have been involved in Chris's murder; anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8345 3865 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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