Radio 1 DJ is shot dead after £10,000 robbery

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The Independent Online

A DJ who hosted programmes on BBC Radio 1was shot dead outside a London hotel, hours after he and a group of friends were robbed at gunpoint of thousands of pounds.

Horace Pinnock – better known as DJ Village – died from a single gunshot wound to the chest after he and his friends were confronted in the early hours of Tuesday.

Mr Pinnock, 29, had hosted Radio 1's weekend Dancehall Reggae show and was regarded as one of the rising stars of Britain's diverse dance music industry.

Mr Pinnock was killed two hours after he and his friends were robbed of cash – believed to amount to more than £10,000, in US dollars – and personal jewellery.

The group of friends, three men and two women, were cornered by two armed men as Mr Pinnock tried to park his blue Ford Galaxy in the car park of the Plaza Hotel in Wembley, north-west London, at about midnight.

Most of the money belonged to Jamaica's current number one recording artist, O'Neil Bryan, who uses the stage name Elephant Man and has been on tour in Britain.

Mr Pinnock, Mr Bryan and a male friend went into the hotel where the Jamaican artist is believed to have been staying, and reported the robbery to staff.

The police were told, but at about 2am, the three men again found themselves in a dispute, this time with a group of between six and 10 men who met them in the lobby of the hotel. The altercation that followed spilt outside the hotel and Mr Pinnock was shot with a single bullet, believed to have been fired by a handgun. He was taken to the Central Middlesex Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Scotland Yard has called in its specialist Operation Trident team – which investigates gun crime involving members of the black community. Detective Chief Inspector Brian Sweeting, from the Metropolitan Police's serious crime group, said: "This is a brutal and callous murder carried out in front of a number of witnesses that I would like to speak to."

DJ Village had a large following, particularly among young Afro-Caribbeans in London. The reggae writer Derek Bardowell described him as "one of the foremost reggae DJs in this country".

Tony Berry, marketing manager of the Jet Star record company, for whom the DJ had mixed an album, said Mr Pinnock had been extremely popular. "His death has shocked and stunned a great many people," Mr Berry said.

Elephant Man, who performed on Sunday night at Ocean, a live music venue in east London, was said by his London record company, Greensleeves, to be "devastated" by the shooting.

A spokesman for Radio 1, for whom DJ Village last presented a show in June, said the station's "thoughts go out to his family and friends".

Although the circumstances of Tuesday's shooting are unclear, reports of violent crime are becomingly increasingly associated with Radio 1 as the station remodels itself to reflect the music that is closest to the streets. Tim Westwood, 43, presenter of the Radio 1 Rap Show and a friend of DJ Village, was the victim of a gunman who pulled alongside his four-wheel drive and shot him in the arm in south London in 1999.

Michael Bennett, 44, also known as DJ Mikee B of the trio of UK Garage DJs known as the Dreem Teem, which presents a Radio 1 programme on Sunday mornings, admitted last year to having served a 17-month jail sentence for drug dealing.

Any witnesses to the shooting of Mr Pinnock are asked to contact police on 0208 345 4332 or telephone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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