Two shot dead in Forest Gate for ‘ruining birthday’

A gangster ordered two men shot dead after they ruined his 30th birthday party, a court heard last Wednesday.

Nana Oppong, now 31, from Stratford, handed Michael Smith a handgun moments before he gunned down two men outside an east London nightclub.

Mr Smith, 28, was then chased through the street before being shot repeatedly by one of the victims’ friends in a revenge attack – but miraculously survived.

Patrick Ford, 36, died at the scene within minutes of being shot in the heart, while 27-year-old Eugene Brown survived a gunshot wound to the head for six weeks before dying in hospital.

Revellers had earlier fled the party after Brown, who was also armed, suddenly pulled a pistol from his waistband and fired four shots at the ceiling.

Oppong, who was celebrating his 30th birthday, later dumped gunman Smith on the doorstep of a nearby hospital before having his hired BMW X6 valeted to destroy forensic evidence, the Old Bailey heard.

The pair had been “partners in crime” during the chaotic scenes in the early hours of May 29, 2010, said prosecutor William Boyce QC.

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They had moved on with a group of revellers to the Sugar Lounge club in Forest Gate after earlier spending the night at Chocolate City in nearby East Ham.

As well as the BMW, Oppong had hired a black Range Rover and yellow Lamborghini for the “lavish” event.

“A lot of people had guns on them,” said Mr Boyce.

“Obviously, Mr Brown broke up Mr Oppong’s party.

“Mr Brown, with a high degree of being casual, then just saunters out of the club.

“This has effectively ruined Mr Oppong’s party.’

CCTV footage showed Oppong acting as “director of operations” as a group of men huddle around him, the court heard.

The three shootings that followed were all caught on camera, jurors were told.

The grainy images from the Sugar Lounge are said to show Oppong handing a weapon to Smith, before both men head outside.

Smith then shoots both Brown and Ford, who had been trying to take Brown’s gun from him, before running off as co-accused Kevin Powell, 36, one of Brown’s friends, allegedly gives chase to exact revenge.

Shooting as he chased Smith for more than a quarter of a mile, Powell is said to have finally caught up and shot Smith repeatedly at a bus stop.

Smith was saved after being picked up in Oppong’s BMW and driven to Newham General Hospital, the court heard.

Oppong, of West Road, denies two counts of murder and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Powell, of Willesden, north-west London, denies attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The trial continues.