A former youth footballer has been found guilty of murdering a fellow gym user before fleeing the country.
Charles Riddington, 37, repeatedly stabbed George Barker, 24, in an ambush at the Double K Gym in Bexley, south-east London, in November 2016.
Mr Barker, from South Darenth, Kent, had 17 wounds to his head, body and arms, including three fatal injuries, jurors at the Old Bailey were told.
Riddington had claimed he was acting in self-defence.
However, during the trial, prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said Riddington had launched a “merciless attack” on him with a lock knife.
Riddington, who played for Millwall as a child, denied lying in wait to ambush Mr Barker at the gym.
He said he had been talking to the gym’s owner about a proposal to involve football pundit Jamie Redknapp, who was described in court as a “family friend”, in a documentary.
He alleged it was Mr Barker who was carrying the knife, adding that he had disarmed him during a fight over money.
Jurors were told Riddington believed he had been “conned” by Mr Barker and had arrived at the gym armed with a knife.
He later used a false passport to fly to Germany and was eventually extradited from northern Cyprus in November 2018 and charged.
Mr Rees had told the jury to consider “why the defendant chose to flee if he felt that he had been justified in defending himself during an attack witnessed by other people who would have been able to support his account”.
Riddington was found not guilty of a second charge of possessing an offensive weapon.
He is due to be sentenced later this month.