Men cleared of Daniel Smith 'mistaken identity' murder

Daniel Smith
Image caption Daniel Smith was shot after getting food for his family

Three men accused murdering an innocent man by mistake have been cleared by a jury at the Old Bailey.

Daniel Smith, 22, was gunned down as he left a KFC restaurant in Harrow Road, west London, in May 2010.

The prosecution claimed he was shot because of his "striking resemblance" to a man involved in a gang feud.

Kervin Kavuala, 27, of Kilburn, Shane Lewis, 32, of Harlesden, and Zeleke Forde, 30, of Watford, were found not guilty.

Jonathan Yeboah, 25, of west London, was cleared of two offences involving him trying to obtain a firearm for Kavuala.

Mr Smith's sister collapsed in tears as the verdicts were announced and had to be helped from court.

'Innocent man'

The court was told that Mr Smith, an electrician for Hackney Council, had gone to buy food after a first date with a girl and on his way to the home he shared with his mother and sisters.

But shortly before, a gangster suspected of shooting a rival dead had also gone into the shop and Mr Smith was mistaken for him.

Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, said: "This case involves the murder of an innocent man against a background of gangs.

"Daniel Smith was murdered because he was a victim of mistaken identity. The murder was intended to be a revenge killing for a previous murder."

Mr Smith had no involvement with the police, the defendants or gangs but "bore a striking resemblance" to the suspect.

The prosecution said the murder was in revenge for the shooting of Kavuala's brother Tyno Kavuala, who was found shot in his car in Scrubs Lane, north Kensington, in March 2010, the victim of disputes between two Kilburn gangs.

But Kavuala told the court he suspected police of shooting his brother.

He said he had nothing to do with Mr Smith's death and was with friends at a social event at the time of the murder.

John Cooper QC, for Kavuala, told the jury that any suggestion the killing was as the result of revenge was "utterly without any foundation".

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