Twenty years after Rincon Costeno became the first Ecuadorian restaurant in London, it’s 23-year-old owner was brutally killed in front of diners and his own mum.
The attack in Elephant and Castle last month (December 14th 2021) is still fresh in the mind of Rocia Chango Mullo, 56, who watched helplessly as her son was stabbed in the back.
Moments earlier, as Ian Gualavisi welcomed a couple into the restaurant around 7:30pm on a Tuesday evening, a skinny man in an ‘unforgettable’ fluorescent green jacket and motorcycle helmet had burst in.
“I shouted ‘Ian!’ and my heart was jumping,” Rocia remembers.
“Ian ran to the kitchen but the door was stuck because you need a key
“Then the guy stabbed him.”
This is when her memory goes blank, though she was also able to recall another man at the scene.
Only 20 minutes ago Ian’s dad Segundo Vicente Gualavisi, 54, had left to get meat from nearby East Street Market.
After hearing about the stabbing he rushed back to the bloodbath where Ian laid in his arms and died.
Rocia wonders: “Maybe it would have been different if he was there to defend him.”
The Latin American community in Elephant and Castle is close, with a mosaic of South American restaurants lining Maldonado Walk and neighbouring roads.
Consequently the area has been rocked by Ian’s murder, with nearly 200 people turning out to mark his death with a balloon release.
Ian’s mum and dad say: “I think it’s important for people to know that the community around here is so broken because he used to look after them.”
Even an employee at a card machine company servicing the restaurant appears midway through the interview and reveals how devastated he was by Ian’s death.
“That night I could not get to sleep even thinking about him,” Gary says.
Runaway to rapper and restaurateur
Ian’s family say they want to set the record straight on Ian’s past, with people speculating about his involvement with a gang.
“When he was about 14 he got arrested because he had run away from home and was found with £1,500. He went to prison because of that for a few months.
“The police said to him because of your age, your parents have a business, you do not have to do this and after that he turned his life around.
Ian agreed not to run away from home again and began working in his parent’s restaurant.
But, aged 18 Ian’s parents say he was framed for gun possession, though he was later acquitted after prosecutors could find no evidence to link him to the weapon.
“They put a gun in one of the rubbish bins he had taken out.”
Ian then opened a restaurant in Brixton, which later closed due to the pandemic.
Not deterred by this, Ian put his efforts into forging a rap career and began making drill videos under the stage name Migo, racking up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
“He had a very good flow and he attracted both the Spanish community and the English community.
“People found it amazing that he could rap in both languages.”
Asked about the message of drill music and Ian’s own videos, his family say the persona he displayed in his videos was different to the person they knew.
“Drill music on its own can be very damaging for young people, but that was his passion.
“Could it be that he was so young and doing so well?
“Could it be that people got upset about what he was acting in his music?
“If people take music so seriously they are willing to take someone’s life, they are not okay.”
It was previously reported Ian was attacked with a machete just months before his death, however his family believe the Southwark licensing report was misrepresented.
They point out it was only a “possible machete wound”, and Ian had actually been the victim of a bottling by a drunken customer who was refused more booze.
“Ian did not want to cooperate with police because he did not want the drunk person to go to prison because he was a customer.
“He knew the guy was just drunk and we all have issues.”
Do you want to stay up to date with the latest news, views, features and opinion from across the city?
MyLondon’s brilliant newsletter The 12 is absolutely jam packed with all the latest to keep you keep you entertained, informed and uplifted.
You’ll get 12 stories straight to your inbox at around 12pm. It’s the perfect lunchtime read.
And what’s more – it’s FREE!
The MyLondon team tells London stories for Londoners. Our journalists cover all the news you need – from City Hall to your local streets, so you’ll never miss a moment.
Don’t skip a beat and sign up to The 12 newsletter here.
‘Don’t be scared to speak up’
The Ian they remember was a ferociously hard worker and talented cook, stepping into a busy kitchen when the chef was ill, covering for his beloved mum, and sending silly videos of him singing and falling on the floor.
“We do not know why he was killed.
“We wish we could actually say it’s because he was doing this, it would be easier for us to say he was naughty boy.
“It’s scary that this is becoming normal in London. It’s not normal to take someone’s life.
“It’s not normal for someone to use my son’s name as another knife crime in London.
“He was a caring and loving man, a 23-year-old man, who had his whole life ahead of him and it was stopped short.
“We do not want people to be scared to speak up. Lots of people from this community knew who he was and that’s why they want justice.
“The one thing I do not want is for my son’s case to go cold.”
Two men, both aged 24, arrested on 15 and 16 December on suspicion of murder, have been released on bail.
Anyone who witnessed the incident, or who has information about what took place, should call 101 giving the reference 6908/14dec. Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously via https://crimestoppers-uk.org/
Anyone with any images or footage relevant to the investigation can upload them to
If you have a story to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you want the latest news in your area sent straight to your inbox? It only takes a few minutes! Click here.