May 20 2013 Latest news:
Dancer, 20, robbed of seeing son and being his role model
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Five members of a teenage gang who prowled the streets holding up strangers at gunpoint for kicks were locked up for a total of 82 years for shooting dead a professional dancer.
Daniel Famakinwa, 20, from Manor Park, was showered with blows as he waited to catch a bus home from a south-London nightclub.
Adrian Rhodes, 19, then delivered a flying kick moments before Ezekiel Charles-Stirling, also 19, shot Mr Famakinwa with a 9mm pistol.
Weeks later Rhodes tried to carry out a similar attack in central London, but missed his target and was caught with the firearm used in the killing.
Charles-Stirling, of Kitley Gardens, Upper Norwood, denied murder, possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and possessing a prohibited firearm, claiming he was framed by the others, but was convicted following a trial at the Old Bailey.
Judge Nicholas Cooke QC jailed Charles-Stirling for life and ordered he serve a minimum of 24 years.
Rhodes was locked up for 20 years and Rohmelle Bogle for 14, while Josh Chieke and Christopher Perry both received 12-year terms.
The judge said: ‘Daniel Famakinwa was a blameless victim and his death has caused grief and misery to his family and friends.
‘It has left a fatherless child, indeed a child who will never have seen his father, still less remember him.
‘All of you are in some sense responsible for that death, even if you Ezekiel Charles-Sterling bear the primary responsibility.’
In a victim impact statement, 21-year-old Leoni Andrew, who was pregnant with Mr Famakinwa’s child at the time of his death, said she gave birth to their son Lorelle on September 30 that year.
‘When I fell pregnant, Daniel and I were so happy and excited about me giving birth. He spoke of getting a regular job to support us.
“He was robbed of seeing his son’s birthday, and the opportunity of being a father and role model to our son.
“The boys who killed him should be aware of the grief they have caused.’
Rhodes, of Amesbury Avenue, Streatham Hill; Bogle, of Acre Lane, Brixton; Chieke, of Stockwell Road, Stockwell and Perry, of Barcombe Avenue, Streatham, all 18, denied murder and were cleared, but convicted of manslaughter.
Rhodes was convicted of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and possessing a prohibited firearm in relation to the second attack.
Bogle, Chieke, and Perry were cleared of two counts of possessing a prohibited firearm and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Daniel’s uncle, Hakeem Orogiri, said in a statement his nephew was born in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to the UK aged seven with his mother and brother.
He was studying A-levels and had started a promotions company, Swagger Star.
Mr Orogiri said: ‘The loss has left a big vacuum in the family that can never be filled. Our lives will never be the same again without Daniel – we would give anything to have him back.’
Mr Famakinwa was at a club night at the West Norwood Snooker Club with seven friends on August 6 last year.
Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee QC said: ‘It is the prosecution case that this is a teenage gang on the prowl in London with a loaded firearm.’
He said their idea of a good night out was the ‘inevitability of confrontation, either seeking it or at least anticipating it,’ secure in the knowledge of their shared secret that they would triumph because they had a gun.
Charles-Stirling hid the weapon in an alleyway near the club before entering and retrieved it as revellers spilled out onto Norwood Road when the nightspot closed at 3.45am.
Mr Famakinwa was ‘larking about’ waiting for a nightbus with his friends, when he was confronted by the group, who asked, ‘What ends you from?’ and demanded he empty his pockets.
He and friend Charma Audu, a fellow professional dancer, tried to calm the situation but he was shot in the groin.
Giving evidence, a tearful Mr Audu said: ‘I ran to the right. Then I looked back and I saw Daniel lying on the floor. I ran back as fast as I could to grab him. I tried to resuscitate him. There was a lot of blood leaking on the ground.’
An alleged sixth gang member, Demmar Dawkins, 18, of West Norwood, was cleared of firearms charges.