A GANG of killers who hunted a young father on Oxford's streets before running him down in a car and repeatedly stabbing him in a 'savage' onslaught have been convicted.

The public gallery at Oxford Crown Court was eerily empty yesterday after jurors returned their verdicts for the four men accused of murdering Luciano Dos Santos Almeida.

Two of the killers – Michael Yemane, 20, of South Bridge Row, Oxford, and Welid Solomon, 26, of Field Avenue, Oxford – were found guilty of murder.

Read again: The report from yesterday's verdict at court

Safeen Karimi, 28, of Hode Garth, Thame, was cleared of murder but found guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter.

A fourth man – who defending himself from the witness box during the eight-week long trial – Sasan Khalid, 19, of no fixed abode, was roundly cleared of any wrong-doing.

During the trial, which began in September, jurors were told that the 'savage' killing began just before 11.20pm on February 27.

Oxford Mail:

Luciano Dos Santos Almeida.

An earlier fight between the victim Luciano Dos Santos Almeida and Michael Yemane and Welid Solomon was the catalyst which led to them leaving for reinforcements in a bid to 'mete out some retribution'.

They were joined by Safeen Karimi and after waiting for Mr Almeida on the corner of Southfield Road and Cowley Road Mr Almeida passed the pair.

Read again: The opening of the case last month

It was at that moment, as seen in CCTV footage played to the court, that Solomon drove his Kia Picanto directly into Mr Almeida.

Seconds later the 22-year-old father to a young daughter was chased up Southfield Road by two of the defendants who stabbed him multiple times.

Oxford Mail:

Guilty of murder: Michael Yemane.

Jurors also heard during the case from eye-witnesses who detailed Mr Almeida's calls for aid as he screamed out 'help, help, help' while he lay dying.

One of the first people to go his aid – James Charman – told jurors what he saw of the alleged violence.

Oxford Mail:

Guilty of murder: Welid Solomon.

He said he was first alerted to something going on outside his then-home by the sound of ‘lots of revving’ of a car, and when he looked out his window he saw figures ‘running around the car.’

Read again: Eyewitness tells murder trial jury what he saw on night of Luciano Dos Santos killing

He said: “I could see people on the other side of the road and I could hear them in [a] ditch running around it.

“I heard noises, painful noises.”

Mr Charman said he thought he could see two or three people and he described the incident as ‘an attack.’

He went on: “[I heard] quite horrible shouts of pain which I now know obviously from going out and seeing the body, it was stabbing noises, the noises it would make if you were stabbed.

Oxford Mail:

Guilty of manslaughter: Safeen Karimi.

“It’s a horrible noise, shouts of pain which I guess was the stabbing.”

Mr Almeida had in fact been stabbed in the back of the head with such force that the tip of the knife had broken off and was embedded in his skull.

He also had several serious stab wounds in his back, arms and legs, and died a few days later from his injuries.

Oxford Mail:

Yesterday the jury of 10 men and two women also found Solomon guilty of a separate offence of perverting the course of justice by setting fire to a car used in the killing.

After being sent out to begin their deliberations on Tuesday they took 17 hours and 37 minutes to reach their verdicts.

After the verdicts presiding Judge Ian Pringle QC thanked the jury for their commitment to the trial.

Read again: Judge thanks jurors in Oxford murder case and gives them 'a reward'

He said: "Members of the jury, it only remains for me to thank you all for the care and attention that you have given to this very demanding case over eight weeks.

"I suspect when you turned up here on September 2 you thought it would be all over in a fortnight, but it was not.

"I am going to make sure you all have a letter which you can take with you today which is going to save you from jury service for the next 10 years, because of the amount of time and effort you put into this trial."

Oxford Mail:

Prosecutor Paul Cavin QC also paid tribute to the court staff and thanked them for their assistance in the long-running case.

Speaking after the verdicts a senior prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service called the killing 'vicious.'

Liz Scriven said: “The three defendants clearly planned their vicious attack on Mr Almeida, arming themselves with weapons as they set off to hunt him down.

Oxford Mail:

“CCTV footage captured their movements in the lead up to the attack, and the wealth of witness accounts and forensic evidence we presented in court proved their involvement beyond doubt."

She added: “These men intended to seriously harm Mr Almeida, and they will now have to face the consequences of their actions.

Read again: Crown Prosecution Service welcomes convictions for 'vicious' stabbing

"We hope today’s convictions provide Mr Almeida’s family with some measure of comfort.”

Thames Valley Police's senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Blaik called the violence 'horrific and meaningless'.

He said: “This was a sustained, premeditated and vicious attack on Luciano Dos Santos Almeida.

“It was a horrific and meaningless attack, and from the outset, it was clear that there was a desire from the offenders to cause their victim serious harm.

Oxford Mail:

“Mr Almeida had a young daughter and loving family. He did not deserve to die in such violent circumstances at the hands of Solomon, Yemane and Karimi.

“I would like to pay tribute to the courage, patience and support of Mr Almeida’s family.

“They have had to endure many months of anguish while this murder was investigated.

“They have conducted themselves with the utmost dignity throughout this ordeal, and while no sentence will bring Mr Almeida back, I hope that the conclusion of this case will, in time, bring them some closure."

Sentencing was adjourned to a date to be confirmed on the week ending November 22.