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'This has torn me apart': Mum of murdered teenager speaks out as killers jailed for life

PUBLISHED: 17:04 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:04 26 July 2019

Braeden Henry and Sean Obazee have been jailed for life for the murder of Abdul Mayanja. Picture: Met Police

Braeden Henry and Sean Obazee have been jailed for life for the murder of Abdul Mayanja. Picture: Met Police

Met Police

Family and friends of two "cowardly" murderers convicted of shooting a teenager at close range erupted in fury as the pair were jailed for life.

Abdul Mayanja. Picture: Met PoliceAbdul Mayanja. Picture: Met Police

The public gallery in Court 12 at the Old Bailey had to be cleared and His Honour Judge Nigel Lickey QC left the courtroom amid furious scenes as defendants Sean Obazee, of North Pole Road, Hammersmith, and Braeden Henry, of Evelyn Road, Silvertown, were taken down to the cells while protesting their innocence.

They were jailed for a minimum of 30 and 31 years, respectively, for murdering Abdul Mayanja.

The 19-year-old was shot dead as he sat on a wall with a friend in Well Street, Maryland on August 25, 2017.

Their sentences were initially marked by sobs from the public gallery before Henry, 25, told the judge: "I'm innocent, mate," while Obazee, 24, sarcastically said: "Yeah, this is justice."

Those words prompted a volley of angry comments from the public gallery, directed chiefly at the judge, while journalists and legal counsel were also on the receiving end of insults.

The judge returned to court a few minutes later to praise the "dignity" of the victim's family, and the work of the police in bringing the conviction.

The court heard how Abdul, an IT analyst who regularly sent money to his grandmother in Uganda, was with a female friend when he was approached by the pair and asked, "What ends you from?" He was shot in the back as he held his hands aloft.

The RAF cadet, from Plaistow, died later in hospital from a single wound to the chest.

Sentencing the pair to a total of 61 years before they would be eligible for parole, the judge described the victim as a "thoroughly decent man".

He said: "In a brutal act of unnecessary and cowardly violence, he (Abdul) was shot and left to die.

"To shoot an unarmed man... for no reason was just that - cowardly.

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"He was an easy target, not someone who would resist or fight back.

"The actual reason for this senseless killing may never been known.

"To ask a man where he was from suggests some territorial rivalry. That might explain why he was shot - because he was somewhere he was not supposed to be."

The judge added: "You will have a long time to reflect on that evening and what you did. You will not be considered for parole for many years."

The court heard Abdul was giving friends a lift home from a barbecue when one of his passengers felt ill.

He stopped the car and went to sit on the wall next to her. It was then that Abdul was approached and killed with a sawn-off shotgun, from a distance of no more than two metres.

His mother Hadija Kidza told the court how her son had mowed the lawn and then went to the mosque before going a friend's barbecue on the night he died.

Describing how the killing had affected the teenager's brother and three half-siblings, she added: "He was a role model, very helpful and understanding. He always had a smile.

"As a mother this has completely torn me apart. I recently suffered a heart attack due to the anguish. I barely sleep like I used to, I have to almost sit in bed for sleep to take me out of the misery that never seems to ease.

"I am left with a virtual sense of his existence. I will never forget the pain and disappointment he must have endured in his last moments."

His father, Ismael Musoke, added in a victim impact statement read before the court: "He was a reliable, thoughtful and responsible boy. He was a quick thinker with so much promise.

"I think what I would like to say to the youngsters of today is they really don't know what they're doing when they do things like this."

Four other people were cleared of involvement in Abdul's death following a trial.

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