Gang members bag life jail for killing Nigerian girl in UK

2011-04-13
THE NATION Newspaper

Agnes Sina-Inakoju became the unwitting victim of “gang warfare” when she was blasted in the neck with a submachine gun by Leon Dunkley after she went to buy pizza.


Dunkley, 22, a member of the London Fields gang, fired through the window of Hoxton Chicken and Pizza Shop in a “callous and cold-blooded” attack in April last year.

He and fellow gang member Mohammed Smoured, 21, both wearing hoodies, cycled up before Dunkley, without looking who he was aiming at, pulled out the gun and fired.

The pair were both jailed for life at the Old Bailey and told they would have to serve at least 32 years each.

The shooting was captured on shocking CCTV footage. It was the culmination of a violent and escalating feud between groups of youths from different parts of Hackney, east London.

However the person Dunkley hit was not a gang member but Agnes, described as a “popular and successful” schoolgirl.

Her brother Abiola said in a statement the teenager had a “realistic ambition” to go to Oxford and visited the university the week before she was shot.

He said: “We still can’t believe she has been taken away from us at such a young age.”

Simon Denison QC, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey: “Her future was taken away from her in an instant.”

After the killing, word was spread by gang members that people should not help with the police investigation.

However, officers were led to uncover an arsenal of deadly weapons held by teenagers - intimidated into storing them by senior figures within the London Fields gang. Inquiries revealed the gun used to kill Agnes had been used in six other shootings.

The shooting took place supposedly in revenge after one of the gang’s members was beaten up by the rival Hoxton Boys.

Agnes had nothing to do with the dispute, but Dunkley believed that members of the rival gang would be hanging around at the takeaway shop when he opened fire.

The court heard that after the shooting Smoured told a friend: “It’s funny, the way she dropped.”

Dunkley, 22, and lookout Smoured, 21, both of Hackney, were each convicted of murder by a 10-1 majority.

Two youths aged 16 and 17 were convicted of firearms offences for holding weapons on behalf of older members of the London Fields gang and will be sentenced at a later date.

It was not the first time members of the gang had been responsible for the death of an innocent teenager.

Six of them were jailed for life in 2009 for the murder of 14-year-old schoolboy Shaquille Smith, who was stabbed on a park bench.

Agnes was gunned down with a machine gun. The shots were fired completely randomly as two people on bicycles rode past the takeaway without stopping, the Old Bailey heard.

She was standing inside the shop next to its glass window with friends when the two youths in hoodies allegedly rode up outside.

She dropped to the ground as the gunman opened fire without stopping or checking who was inside after pulling out a 9mm sub-machine gun, the court heard.

The killers then rode away from the Hoxton Chicken and Pizza Shop in Hoxton, North London, as she fought for life with a bullet wound to her neck.

She died two days later in hospital.

Prosecutor Simon Denison QC said: “It was as callous and cold-blooded as it could be, carried out in broad daylight in a busy street.

“Agnes Sina-Inakoju appears to have been the innocent victim of an on-going rivalry between gangs in that part of London.

“The gun that was used to kill her was one of a number of guns that lay in the hands of a gang that were rivals of a gang in Hoxton.”

Mr Denison said: “One of them calmly took out a gun, pointed it towards the window where Agnes and her friends were and fired.

“It was very quick. He didn’t even stop his bicycle. He didn’t pause to see who was in the shop or to aim at anyone in particular. The bullet hit Agnes in the neck and she collapsed immediately.”

The murder weapon was recovered a week after the killing on April 14 last year when a police officer spotted a 16-year-old youth running away from him with a rucksack.

The bag was thrown over a wall into a garden during the chase. It contained both the 9mm sub-machine gun and a converted Umarex Walther P99 self-loading pistol with ammunition, the jury was told.

The prosecution said more firearms were recovered from the home of a 15-year-old boy said to be used by the gang to store their weapons.

They included a loaded Mac 10 sub-machine gun, a loaded shotgun with ammunition and a loaded .38 revolver.

Mr Denison said Agnes lived in Hoxton with her family and was popular at school.

Agnes was a pupil at Haggerston School in Weymouth Terrace and came second place in the John Petchey Speak Out Challenge in Hackney in 2009.

Speaking about racism, she said: “Imagine a world without racism, a place where everyone is equal. We are all beautiful, we are all talented and we all have a future. We share a world together. Let’s start living it.”

 

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