Men jailed for murder of friend killed by rival gang in shootout

September 30, 2022 8:56 am

[Source: BBC]

Three men have each been jailed for at least 29 years for the murder of their friend killed by rivals in a shootout.

The inquiry into Billy McCullagh’s death saw his associates charged with murder – even though an opposing gang shot him, in north-west London in 2020.

Issa Seed, Adel Yussuf and Daniel Mensah were found guilty after prosecutors argued they opened fire knowing their rivals would shoot back.

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It is thought to be the only conviction of its kind in England and Wales.

The Old Bailey heard Mr McCullagh was a member of a “violent street gang”, which started a gunfight after travelling to the Stonebridge Estate in Harlesden in the early hours of 16 July 2020.

Mr McCullagh was accompanied by four friends and armed with two guns when they arrived in the territory of his “sworn rivals”.

They had intended to attack the other gang in response to their friend being fatally stabbed the day before, but the vehicle they were travelling in was shot at several times when they arrived in rival territory.

Sentencing the men, Judge Philip Katz KC told them: “Billy McCullagh died a very public death, gunned down in a hail of bullets on the Stonebridge estate.

“I accept that the three of you never realised you would end up in the dock accused of Billy McCullagh’s murder.

“But anyone in this country who willingly participates in a gun battle in the street should not be surprised if the law holds him accountable for any loss of life as a result.”

Detectives used phone, CCTV footage and forensic evidence to build their case, but could not identify the people who fired the gun or guns that killed Mr McCullagh.

Following the death of the “senior and prominent elder” in the local gang scene, music was released on YouTube mourning him.

Another defendant, George Orji, 31, from north-west London, was convicted by the jury of possession of an imitation firearm with intent. He was cleared of possessing a firearm with intent.

His girlfriend Anu Adelaja, 29, was acquitted of possession of a prohibited firearm.

Police said the search would continue to find those who fired the fatal shots.