A man has been found guilty of murdering a father-of-three in an Essex shopping center food court.
Muhammad Khan, 23, stabbed Michael Ugwa to death at Lakeside Mall in Thurrock in April last year after an altercation.
Khan, of Ilford, east London, was also found guilty of affray, Essex said the police.
Another man from the east LondonBrandon Lutchmunsing, 20, was acquitted of murder by jurors but was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and affray, authorities added.
Both men had denied the charges against them.
Mr Ugwa, 29, was killed in the shopping center after complimenting a woman, a trial at Basildon Crown Court was told.
Jurors were told how an argument broke out after Mr Ugwa made comments about Lutchmunsing’s girlfriend, Shannon Weston, who was found guilty of three counts of assisting an offender.
Khan is said to have brandished a knife before he and Lutchmunsing followed Mr Ugwa through the mall.
Mr Ugwa was chased around the food court until both men cornered him in a “pincer movement” before Khan stabbed him in the chest, according to prosecutor Karim Khalil KC.
Mr Ugwa, of Rainham, east London, died from “catastrophic” blood loss at the scene as the two men made their escape.
The court was shown footage of Mr Ugwa defending himself with a chair before throwing it at Lutchmunsing.
Khan stabbed Mr Ugwa in a “single, fatal” blow before fleeing with Lutchmunsing in Weston’s red Audi, Khalil said.
Weston, 21, was accused of driving Khan and Lutchmunsing away from the mall and helping her then-boyfriend evade police between April 28 and May 4.
A “particularly shocking” murder.
Khalil said: “The killing is particularly shocking because it happened just before 4.30pm in the public food court.
“He walked past a number of people going about their normal business. Witnesses were clearly scared for their safety.”
Lutchmunsing said he did not know his friend had pulled out the knife until he stabbed Mr Ugwa, while Khan had claimed he was acting in self-defence.
Senior Investigator Temporary Chief Inspector Julie Gowen said afterwards: “Although this incident happened over the course of a few minutes, the deadly assault was over within seconds.
“This case shows the tragic consequences that carrying a knife can have and how quickly an incident can escalate when guns are involved.”
The defendants are due to be sentenced at Basildon Crown Court.