Murder probe police slam leaflets


Sylvester Akapalara was gunned down in a stairwell on the Pelican Estate in Peckham

Senior police officials have criticised an “irresponsible” leafleting campaign that is warning residents not to talk to police on an estate where a teenager was recently shot dead.

A number of flyers have been posted through doors on the Pelican Estate, in South London, carrying the message “No one likes a rat. Remember the police are not your friend.”

It comes less than a month after 17-year-old Sylvester Akapalara was gunned down in a stairwell on the housing complex.

The posters warn locals: “Don’t be deceived by promises of anonymity, protection and rewards. They will say and do anything to make you snitch and then destroy your life. Be smart, don’t snitch!”

The head of Operation Trident, the Metropolitan Police’s specialist unit which tackles gun crime in black communities, described the campaign as irresponsible.

Det Ch Supt Stuart Cundy, said: “Witnesses play a vital role in supporting the justice system. By engaging with us they provide vital information which helps to solve murders and prevent further crime in your local community.

“We at Trident go out of our way to look after our vulnerable witnesses and ensure they feel able to come forward, so that we can solve crimes and prevent further crimes being committed.”

Sylvester, a talented athlete, was found dead on the fourth floor of Heron House on the Pelican Estate in Peckham on December 29 last year. He had been shot in the head and chest.

Three teenagers are awaiting trial charged with his murder.

The Metropolitan Police said there was no criminal investigation into the issuing of the leaflets.

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