Birthday party bloodbath in Forest Gate shoot-out

Fatal violence erupted after weapons were brandished

A 30th birthday party turned into a bloodbath with two men shot dead and their killer left fighting for his life, a court heard.

Michael Smith blasted partygoers Patrick Ford, 36, and Eugene Brown, 27, outside the Sugar Lounge in Forest Gate, on May 29 last year.

He was then chased through the street and shot repeatedly by one of the victim’s friends in retaliation.

Mr Ford died at the scene while Mr Brown spent six weeks in hospital before dying from a head wound.

Prosecutor William Boyce QC said violence erupted at the Sugar Lounge at around 5am. Mr Brown pulled a gun and fired four shots into the ceiling, causing “great offence”, he said.

Smith, who was armed, and Nana Oppong, whose birthday it was, decided to do something about Mr Brown’s actions. They went outside where Mr Ford, who was also carrying a firearm, was trying to disarm Mr Brown, jurors heard.

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Mr Boyce said Oppong pointed and Smith pulled a gun, took aim and fired. Mr Ford was fatally shot in the chest. Smith and Oppong then just “ambled, swaggered, strolled” from the scene. Michael Powell, who heard shots and saw his friend lying on the ground, pursued Smith who was shot several times.

He was rescued by Oppong and pulled into a car shortly after Powell blasted him at point blank range.

Mr Boyce said Smith “must be one of the most fortunate men alive” after surviving the attack. Oppong, who arrived at the club in a yellow Lamborghini, sheltered in the back of a friend’s BMW.

The BMW was driven to Newham General Hospital where the driver and Oppong pulled out Smith, now drenched with blood, and carried him “like a sack of potatoes” to the front of the hospital where they left him.

In the days that followed, police found evidence of stray shots allegedly fired by Powell on residential streets, one piercing a window and another lodged in a wall.

None of the four guns used that night have been recovered.

Smith, 27, of Beaconsfield Road, Canning Town, and Oppong, of West Road, Stratford, deny two counts of murder and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Oppong denies doing acts to pervert course of justice by providing a false witness statement.

Powell, 35, from Willesden, north-west London, denies attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Nerissa Harris, 28, from Chingford, Essex, denies possessing a prohibited weapon and perverting the course of justice by concealing the gun belonging to Mr Brown.

In connection with the disposal of bullet casings. club licensee Dashka Stancilas, of Prestbury Road, Forest Gate, denies two charges of perverting the course of justice and bar worker Camilla Ghimpu, of Katherine Road, Forest Gate, denies a similar count.Stancilas also told police that the club’s CCTV cameras did not work when in fact they captured the entire incident. The trial continues.