London

Gunmen jailed over shoot-out outside Sugar Lounge club

Michael Smith and Kevin Powell
Image caption Michael Smith was jailed for murder and Kevin Powell for attempting to murder Smith

Two gunmen have been jailed for 34 years each after two men died in an early morning shoot-out outside a birthday party at a nightclub.

Eugene Brown, 27, and Patrick Ford, 36, were killed outside the Sugar Lounge in Forest Gate, east London, in the early hours of 29 May 2010.

Michael Smith, 28, of Canning Town, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 34 years for both murders.

Kevin Powell, 37, of Harlesden, was jailed for attempting to murder Smith.

Powell was found guilty following a retrial at the Old Bailey.

Nana Oppong, 32, a cleaner, of Stratford, was previously cleared of murder and a firearms charge after two juries failed to reach verdicts.

'Brutal and callous'

He was jailed for two years after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Smith survived the blasts and stood trial with Powell, the man said to have "taken the law in his own hands".

Judge Brian Barker told them: "To have a case of three guns and two bodies after an extraordinary escape from the jaws of death, is an affront to civilised and peace-loving society.

"This was a brutal and callous use of powerful weapons in London streets with a complete indifference to the results.

Image caption Patrick Ford and Eugene Brown were shot outside the Sugar Lounge nightclub

"These were acts of revenge done in the streets with complete disregard for the public."

Smith and Powell received concurrent 10-year terms for the firearms offences.

Mr Brown had fired four bullets into the ceiling of the club during Oppong's birthday celebrations, the court heard.

Smith shot Mr Brown and Mr Ford despite being surrounded by party-goers, who spilled out on to the pavement after shots were fired into the ceiling of the club, the jury heard.

Mr Ford died where he fell and Mr Brown died six weeks later in hospital.

CCTV footage

Smith, whose white suit was covered in blood, had got up and ran away, but was caught again and blasted at point-blank range for a second time.

He still managed to get up and run, and dived into an open window of a car before being dumped in the doorway of a hospital.

At least 24 bullets were fired at him, some becoming embedded in houses and one going through a living room window.

Some of the shoot-out was captured on CCTV which was played to the jury.

Two women working at the Sugar Lounge were found guilty of perverting justice and were jailed in September 2011.

Dajsha Stancillas, 31, of Forest Gate, who removed bullet casings from the floor of the club, was jailed for a year.

Camilla Ghimpu, 26, also of Forest Gate, who got rid of the bullet cases after being handed them by Stancillas, her boss, received a six-month jail term.

Nerissa Harris, 29, of Chingford, was jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

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