Brother 19-year-old locked up indefinitely for the murder of MMA fighter, Jahreau Shepherd

The 19-year-old brother of a British champion MMA fighter has been locked up indefinitely for stabbing him to death on his 30th birthday.

MMA figher known as Nightmare murdered by his brother
Jahreau Shepherd was hacked to death by his 19-year-old half brother Dwight Freeman

Nicknamed "The nightmare", Jahreau Shepherd, was hacked to death by his half brother 19-year-old Dwight Freeman as he celebrated his birthday with friends in Kennington, South London on July 11th last year.

Following the attack, Freeman, who was Mr Shepher's half brother, fled to Newquay in Cornwall where he was apprehended five days later.

Last month, Freeman, originally from Vauxhall, south London, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility, he also pleaded guilty to wounding 26-year-old Joel Belgrave with intent.

On Monday, Judge Richard Marks QC handed Freeman a hospital order without limit of time.

Family and friends of Mr Shepherd filled the courtroom to listen to prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC outline the facts from the case.

She told the court that Mr Shepherd was an “accomplished” MMA fighter who lived with his mother and half-brother, who was known as DJ.

Mr Shepherd acted like a father figure to his younger sibling and wanted him to “fix up and be better” and stop smoking cannabis”.

The court heard the victim had been “physically imposing” at times and there were issues between the pair.

It was said that in the build-up to the killing, that the defendant, Freeman, often suffered mood swings and on one occasion "terrified" his own mother when she woke to find him just staring at her at the bottom of her bed.

Freeman's mother had made appointments for him to see his GP, all of which he failed to attend.

On the evening of July 11th, Mr Shepherd was holding a birthday party and barbecue in a park, there were around 60 guests in attendance.

At approximately 10pm, mortified friends watched on as Freeman, dressed all in black with his hood up carried out a "terrifying, sustained and unprovoked attack with a large knife or knives", Ms Carberry stated.

Witnesses who saw the attack gave a mixed description of the weapons they believed were used in the attack, ranging from a Samurai sword, a machete and a large zombie knife.

One witness who was there at the time of the attack said that he heard what he believed was Mr Shepherd "telling off" the defendant before he was struck several times with a blade.

MMA fighter murdered by his half brother
Jahreau Shepherd, nicknamed "The Nightmare" was an accomplished MMA fighter prior to his murder

Mr Shepherd was heard to say: “I love you. What are you doing?”

He held his hands up as he appealed to his brother, saying: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Don’t do this”, the court was told.

Mr Shepherd suffered 13 separate wounds during the attack, his back, shoulder, thigh, face and stomach were all slashed, the two fatal injuries being over 19cm deep

Freeman only stopped the attack when another partygoer threw a bottle at him which made him drop one of the weapons. Mr Belgrave, a good friend of Mr Shepherd attempted to stop the attack but was also stabbed which caused a punctured lung.

Freeman fled the scene and threw the knife under a nearby car and went on the run to Cornwall.

He attempted to disguise himself by dying and shaving his hair and booking into a hotel under a false name.

During his time in custody, Freeman has been diagnosed by psychiatrists with paranoid schizophrenia.

Dr Emmanuel Okoro gave evidence in court, saying that Freeman's severe mental illness had "played a significant part in the offences".

Judge Marks told the defendant: “At the party, for reasons which are unclear, you had armed yourself with two-bladed articles, one of which was either a machete or a large zombie knife."

“You attacked your brother with one or more of the weapons.

“You did so in a ferocious manner causing him no fewer than 13 stab wounds.

“Such was the degree of violence used by you on your brother, one can only conclude your intention was to kill him.

“The severity of the injuries were such they were unsurvivable and he was pronounced dead at the scene.”

He said: “It’s obviously a very tragic case, more so because your mother in the six months before events had made a number of appointments for you to attend your GP but you had failed to attend, thinking there was nothing wrong with you.”

Detective Sergeant Ben Dalloway, of Scotland Yard, said: “This is a truly tragic case in which a family have essentially lost two of their loved ones.

“Jahreau was celebrating his 30th birthday listening to music and enjoying a barbeque surrounded by his loved ones. His life was cut short in an extremely violent manner which shocked and appalled those present.

“Jahreau was well-loved in the local area and also amongst the mixed martial arts community. He turned to the sport towards the end of his life and was a champion fighter.“


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