AFRICANGLOBE – The mother of the rising fashion designer behind the Billy Boyce clothing line has spoken of her heartbreak as a 20-year-old man was jailed for his murder.
The grieving parent of Shaun Akanbi, known as Abiola by his loved ones, said: “Our lives will never be the same again. Not a day goes by when we stop thinking about Abiola and what he meant to us.
“We feel so much pain and think that this will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Nothing feels the same anymore and everything reminds us of him.”
“He was the source of all jokes and laughter at the dinner table and although he was small physically his personality was huge. He was one of the funniest people you could ever meet.”
Shaun Akanbi, 26, was stabbed multiple times in the chest by Moroccan-born Achraf Jandara on December 20, 2012 – his brother Niyi’s birthday.
Police found Shaun Akanbi’s body two days later in the bedroom of his shared apartment in Cedar Road, Kilburn, north London.
Shaun Akanbi’s uncle, Charles went to his apartment but unable to find his nephew.
“I was so concerned that I made my way from my home address in Southampton to Abiola’s flat [in London] to make sure he was ok,” the 26-year-old’s mother added.
“I found out that Abiola had died but in the beginning I did not even know that he had been stabbed. I was horrified when I found out and collapsed to the floor screaming.
“I felt total disbelief and shock and it was like I was having a horrible nightmare.”
Jandara, 20, of Comber Grove, Camberwell, was found guilty of murder and jailed for life with a minimum of 28 years.
Jandara’s sentencing drew applause from sections of the Old Bailey’s public gallery, and Mrs Akanbi says her son’s murder has had a devastating effect on her whole family, particularly Shaun Akanbi’s sister Ayishat.
“Ayishat misses him so much,” she said. “She is a sensitive person and whenever she was down he would do his best to make her feel better by telling her jokes and making her fall into fits of hysterics.
“[She] was on her first ever holiday in Uganda at the time of his murder and she tells us that she will never forget the phone call she received from her Aunty telling her what had happened.
“She tells me that the call will live with her forever and that day her heart did not just break – it shattered.”
Shaun Akanbi had been a brilliant student, completing a business law degree before going on to study at the London College of Fashion.
Using his business acumen and his love of design, Shaun Akanbi set up the Billy Boyce clothing line in 2009.
His mother said: “He was very determined in whatever he put his mind to and always aimed to better himself. He worked doggedly towards achieving his ambition. Each job he had was better than the last, each car better than the one before. There was nothing he could not do when he put his mind to it.
“Just as things were really beginning to happen for Abiola his life was cruelly taken away.”
Billy Boyce – named in his father’s honour – had started to make serious headway in the fashion industry, with several high-profile music figures such as Miss Dynamite endorsing the brand.
His clothing was featured in various fashion magazines.
“In my culture it is a traditional wish that no parent should have to bury their own children and it is something that we pray for,” said his mother.
“Abiola’s killer has taken that wish away from us.”
By: Jermaine Haughton