A judge has appealed for young people to “break the code of silence” which surrounds shooting murders.
Jailing six people including a 16-year-old boy for killing innocent peacemaker Ezra Mills, Judge Jeremy Roberts said only one had pulled the trigger but all six were convicted on joint venture because there was no evidence on who had fired the fatal shot.
The gangsters, who had terrorised a housing estate and whose members were involved in three shooting incidents, covered up for the gunman and were all given life sentences.
Judge Roberts, who was trying his last major murder case at the Old Bailey, said he was frustrated by the loyalty shown by defendants in such cases, adding: “Has not the time come for the person who pulled the trigger to stop this nonsense and save the others?”
Mr Mills was gunned down with a pump-action shotgun in an alleyway on the Central Hill estate in Gipsy Hill, south London, last March. They went after Mr Mills after he knocked on the door of one of the gang to try to sort out trouble between them and a friend.
Crispin Aylett QC, prosecuting, said none of the gang members were in the house but were alerted by phone.
“They were armed and dangerous – intoxicated by guns and high on adrenalin. They were, quite simply, out of control,” said Mr Aylett.
Marcel Mason, 21, from Central Hill, was given a minimum term of 25 years and six months. Trevelle Williams, 18, and Dwayne Lock, 21, both also of Central Hill, were given 24 years and 21 years respectively.
Robert Saint, 20, of Camberwell, was given 23 years, and David Smith, 22, of Streatham, was given 24 years.
The judge lifted an order banning the identification of Lavarne Forde-Morgan, 16, of Upper Norwood. He was ordered to be detained during Her Majesty’s Pleasure and must serve a minimum of 18 years.