Four men have been jailed for the death of a “humble” shop assistant who was fatally shot in case of a mix-up.
Kwasi Mensah-Ababio, 26, was bumped in the head from close by on July 7 last year while sitting on a bench in Wembley, North London.
He was falsely identified as a gang member who had been blamed for the murder of 32-year-old Craig Small two days earlier.
On Friday, gunman René Montaque, 35, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 30 years for the murder of Mr. Mensah-Ababio.
Karlos Gracia, 23, and Alhassan Jalloh, 21, were also convicted of murder and sentenced to at least 26 years and 25 and a half years, respectively.
Taalib Rowe, 25, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for manslaughter after a March trial.
Judge Anuja Dhir QC sentenced them on Friday, saying they “wanted a life for a life”.
She said, “It was an execution of a completely innocent, hardworking, intelligent, beloved young man.”
She said there were no words to describe the “grief and misery” inflicted on the family of the victim sitting in court.
She explained the background to the murder, saying, “Days earlier, a member of your gang, Craig Small, had been shot and killed on the High Road in Harrow.
Shortly after Mr. Small’s murder, a shrine was erected near the site where he was murdered.
“Mr. Mensah-Ababio was not involved in any gang or even gang or crime. He was a law-abiding, humble man.”
The judge said the defendants, all from Wembley, had seen the victim at the shrine and “mistaken” him for a member of the rival gang they believed was involved in Mr. Small’s death.
Judge Dhir added: “For those of you who have been convicted of murder, it would be a mitigating factor if you had not intended to have Mr. Mensah-Ababio murdered, but I am sure that was your intention.
“You were seeking revenge for Mr. Small’s murder, and one of you was armed with a gun.
‘He was shot in the head in such circumstances. I have no doubt you wanted a life for a life. ‘
The defendants were convicted on March 23, just as the land was being shut down and new trials at the Old Bailey were suspended due to the pandemic.
They were not at port to be convicted, but were attended by video link from Belmarsh prison.