The Met documentary: Mum who drove son to kill 17-year-old in machete attack weeps on TV

The moment a lying mother breaks down in tears after driving her son and his friends to kill an autistic boy in a horrific machete attack will be shown on TV.

Levi Ernest-Morrison, 17, was chased by four masked thugs and fatally stabbed in Sydenham, south London.

In police interview, former care manager Nichola Leighton, 37, denied involvement in the murder.

But a home CCTV system she only installed six hours earlier, captured Levi’s attackers piling into her red Suzuki jeep parked outside in Lockwood Close.

Further footage to be shown in the latest series of BBC documentary The Met shows how Leighton drove them to and from the scene on April 10, 2021.

When confronted with the damning evidence, a detective asks the mother-of-three: “You lied to us, haven’t you? Throughout the entire interview.”

Leighton concedes: “Not the entire interview, just that bit,” before weeping uncontrollably and having to be comforted by her solicitor.

“I don’t know where to start,” she sobs. “I need you to know who did it.”

Nichola Leighton (PA)
Nichola Leighton (PA)

Viewing CCTV Leighton refuses to identify her 19-year-old son Tyreese Ulysses but points out Alex Sprules, 17, who fatally stabbed Levi in the groin after he fell on the ground in an attack lasting 30 seconds on Sydenham Road.

Later, Levi’s mother Bonnie Ernest-Blake allows filmmakers to use a heartbreaking video of her son speaking before his death.

Of the love for his family, he says: “I think my mum should be mother of the year because she’s always had my back, always been there with me through hard times. Yeah, she’s superwoman.”

Mrs Ernest-Blake says she is “disgusted” by Leighton, adding before becoming overwhelmed by emotion: “To know that a mother could do that and bring her own child in it…”

She described Levi as “well mannered, caring, trustworthy” and “always smiling”.

He suffered autism and could not run very fast since being involved in a road accident, she said.

Levi was looking forward to starting an apprenticeship in construction and marrying his girlfriend.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Wood, who led the investigation, said: “Levi was only 17 with the rest of his life in front of him.

“He’s been killed in the most horrific way in the middle of the day, on a busy road, in London.”

Leighton, 37, was found guilty of murder and jailed at the Old Bailey for life with a minimum term of 23 years in 2022.

Sprules, of Lewisham, and a boy, 16, from Bromley, were also locked up for at least 20 and 16 years respectively for the same offence.

Bonnie Ernest-Blake, mother of teenage murder victim Levi Ernest-Morrison, outside the Old Bailey with her husband Christopher Blake (Emily Pennink/PA) (PA Wire)
Bonnie Ernest-Blake, mother of teenage murder victim Levi Ernest-Morrison, outside the Old Bailey with her husband Christopher Blake (Emily Pennink/PA) (PA Wire)

Ulysses, from Catford, and a youth, of Lewisham, who was 14 at the time, received 13 years and six years and three months respectively for manslaughter.

Detective Sergeant Chris Turner said: “I’ve never seen a mother and son going out to commit a murder together.

“You don’t have to be the person who holds the weapon to be part of the crime.

“She is the enabler. She has driven them all to the scene of the offence, then she helps them get away and tries to help cover it up. She’s guilty of murder as far as I’m concerned.”

The Met starts Tuesday, October 24, 9pm, BBC One and iPlayer.