London

Men jailed for Hoxton gun murder of Agnes Sina-Inakoju

Agnes Sina-Inakoju
Image caption Agnes was shot in the neck through a window of the takeaway shop

Two men have been jailed for life for murdering a 16-year-old girl who was shot in an east London pizza shop.

Agnes Sina-Inakoju was fatally wounded at the takeaway in Hoxton Street, Hackney, in April 2010.

The Old Bailey heard she was caught up in a gang feud when she was shot in the neck by a bicycle-riding gunman who fired through the shop's window.

Leon Dunkley, 22, and Mohammed Smoured, 21, both of Hackney, were each sentenced to 32-year minimum terms.

Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London, said the sentence was to act as a deterrent.

"Gun violence with loaded weapons that imperils innocent people on the streets of London has to be stopped," he said.

To the killers he said: "Not only have you taken a life, you have destroyed a family's happiness and destroyed your own lives too."

Agnes was a "popular and successful" teenager who was considered a potential Oxbridge candidate by her school, the court heard.

Future 'taken away'

She was waiting for her takeaway when Dunkley and Smoured cycled up to the Hoxton Chicken and Pizza Shop where Dunkley pulled out his sub-machine gun and fired through the shop window.

Jurors saw CCTV footage taken from inside the shop where Agnes could be seen playing with her friend's hair seconds before the attack.

Another friend ducked down when she spotted the gunmen outside but Agnes was shot in the throat as she looked up to see them.

The footage showed her falling to the ground and rolling over clutching her face. She died in hospital 36 hours later.

Simon Denison QC, prosecuting, told the trial: "Her future was taken away from her in an instant."

In a victim impact statement Agnes's brother, Abiola Inakoju, said his younger sister, who was "full of ambition", had visited Oxford University the week before her death.

He said: "Agnes Sina-Inakoju was a very beautiful, friendly, brilliant and intelligent young girl with lots of potential.

"She was full of ambition and intended to go to Oxford University to continue her study after school.

"Back in March 2009 Agnes represented her school, Haggerston School, in the Hackney regional finals of 'John Petchey's Speak Out Challenge', where she won second place for her presentation about racism that she presented in front of lots of people at the Hackney Empire.

"Agnes had plenty of time for her friends and family. She was a very popular girl and fun to be with.

"Agnes' family have lost a sister, friend and daughter.

"We still can't believe that she has been taken away from us at such a young age. We are still coming to terms with her loss and the fact that we will never see her again.

"She remains in our hearts, where she will remain forever".

The killers, who were members of the London Fields gang, believed members of the rival Hoxton Boys gang were near the shop, the court heard.

The attack was to avenge the beating of one of their gang members.

The murder weapon - a 9mm Agram sub-machine gun - was used in six other shootings, the court heard.

Police investigating the murder found an arsenal of deadly weapons, including a loaded Mac-10 sub-machine gun, a loaded shotgun and ammunition and a loaded .38 revolver.

The Mac-10 was used in four other shootings, the court heard.

Two teenage boys, aged 16 and 17, were convicted of firearms offences for holding weapons on behalf of older members of the London Fields gang.

The judge lifted reporting restrictions on naming 17-year-old Dwayne Wisdom, of Hackney.

He was also found guilty of assisting an offender by moving the firearm.

Wisdom and the other teenager will be sentenced at a later date.

Following the verdict, Det Ch Insp John Crossley said: "Agnes was a totally innocent victim of gun crime.

"We are pleased with today's verdict, but convictions such as these can only be secured with the assistance of the public, and I would like to thank the witnesses that were brave enough to come forward and give evidence in this case."

Mr Crossley's comments come after the court heard that gang members warned people not to help police with the murder inquiry.

The officer added that in the past year gun crime had fallen by 40% in the area.

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