Local Gang Members Given 61 Years in Jail

Convicted after brutal murder of an innocent man

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Following two lengthy trials ten male youths have been found guilty at the Old Bailey in connection with the murder of Yasin Abdirahman in Southall on 3 September 2007.

The sentencing that took place over two days at the Old Bailey saw a group of youths and young men believed to be associated with the notorious MDP (Murder Dem Pussies) gang a total of 61 years. One of the group, Carlos Cyrus, was only 12 at the time of the incident.

Police believe that the group went to Southall intent on finding someone from a rival gang. Yasin was walking through the estate at the time, but had no afiliation to any gang. Yasin had no previous convictions and had never come to the attention of the police. He had led a wholly industrious life in the UK. He had no connection whatsoever with any street gang. At the time of his death he was studying at university and had a part time job as a telephone engineer.

Detective Sergeant Andy Partridge, from the Met's Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said, ""This was a senseless act of gratuitous violence. Yasin and his friend had done nothing to provoke the defendants, giving them no reason to attack in this shocking manner."

Yasin Abdirahman was 22 years old when he died. He was born in Somalia in May 1985 but fled from the civil war in that country aged five and had been in the UK since 1990. He sought, and was granted, asylum and became a British Citizen and passport holder in 2002. He was the main carer for his mother who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis.

Late in the evening of Monday 3 September 2007 Yasin left his home address on the Windmill Park Estate in Southall. He had enjoyed an evening in company of friends. Together with a male friend he was walking two female friends off the estate towards a bus stop in the nearby Uxbridge Road.

Within a matter of minutes Yasin was surrounded by a large group of young males, many in their early or mid teens. They had come armed with a variety of weapons, including long sticks and knives. In what was a case of mistaken identity Yasin was set upon by this group.

Following the attack a member of the public put him in his car and took him straight to hospital.

Yasin had suffered a number of stab wounds including two stab wounds to the head, one of which penetrated the brain. This proved fatal and he died, in hospital, eight days later on 11 September 2007.

A statement issued by his family said, "For no reason at all. He was the family's only son. He had taken on the responsibility of manhood. He was everything to our mum. Every mother needs their children, but our mother needed him more than most. He was her lifeline. He looked after our mum. Yasin had to do more than most boys his age, but he never complained. With her own debilitating illness, Yasin was her access to the outside world. Yasin was her carer, her handyman, her shopper, her helper, but most important he was her friend. No one knows the anguish we go through when we remember what those animals did to Yasin.

"We came to the UK from a war torn country looking for safety. Our Father died in the war. The last we expected was to lose my brother so suddenly, and so violently. And for no reason."

Despite the young age of many of the defendants this was a pre-planned attack by a large, armed, gang upon a defenceless individual. That Yasin was not the intended target can be demonstrated by the fact that on 4 September 2007, a witness received a call from one of the group, Sheldon John-Lewis, and was told, "You're lucky it wasn't you. Next time."

During the course of the police investigation an extensive search of the area by police around Navigator Drive yielded the battery from a Nokia mobile telephone. This was subsequently found to bear DNA that matches the profile of Hassan Kamara.

Various items of clothing were found discarded on the route taken by the gang when leaving the estate onto the main road and towards the hospital. The most significant of these was a latex surgical glove that was heavily blood stained. It was cut in the area of the thumb. A full DNA profile matched that of Sheldon John-Lewis. During the course of the investigation police spoke to 380 witnesses generating 833 statements. Approximately 300 hours of CCTV were viewed. Officers charged 19 individuals in connection with the murder.

A trial that concluded in January 2009 saw 10 convicted, at a further trial that concluded on the 1 April 2009 the jury were unable to reach a verdict on a further four youths and five were found not guilty.

It has since been decided that there will not be a further trial in relation to those that the jury were unable to reach a verdict and all have been released.

Sheldon John-Lewis was sentenced to a minimum 15 years imprisonment. Others imprisoned included Andre Mason, aged 17, of Osbourne Road, Acton who was found guilty of murder, Rahin Rahimi, aged 17, of Hanbury Road Acton was given four years for GBH. Lamar Shebaz McGregor, aged 15 years, of Woodford Court, Shepherd's Bush Green was found guilty of conspiracy to commit GBH and sentenced to a three-year supervision order. Hassan Kamara, aged 19 ys of Wulfstan Street, W12 was found guilty of violent disorder and conspiracy to commit GBH and given four years imprisonment.

Those the jury were not able to reach a verdict on included Farron Sinclair, aged 19 of Bollobridge Rd, Acton, and a 16 year old male youth from W13. Among those found not guilty were Ashley Quashie-Pawnall of Keith Grove, Shepherds Bush, Aaron Adusei of Sumdew Avenue, Richard Alexander Mark of Vespan Rd, Hammersmith and Rhys Johnson of Acton.

Police believe that the imprisonments have removed most of the senior members of the MDP gang, which has also been linked with the murder of Kodjo Yenga in Hammersmith, from the streets and sent out a decisive message to local youths about the potential cost of becoming involved in a gang.

April 23, 2009