'Yardie' crimes often fail to hit the headlines

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A young gunman barges his way into the living room of a house and shoots three men, killing one and injuring the others, in a dispute that is thought to be over a girlfriend.

A young gunman barges his way into the living room of a house and shoots three men, killing one and injuring the others, in a dispute that is thought to be over a girlfriend.

Two other men leap through a second-floor window. During their escape one dislocates his shoulder, while the other is cut by breaking glass.

The killer dashes outside and hurries into a car waiting with a getaway driver.

The murdered man, Seko Brown, 33, who was staying with friends in Reighton Road, Clapton, north-east London, on 24 November, was not believed to have been the intended victim.

This is almost certainly the first time most people will have heard of this shocking incident. Since the murder and attempted double murder the attack has received only a couple of paragraphs of coverage in the national media. The main London newspaper, the Evening Standard, wrote a 473-word account on page 20 four days later.

One reason for the media's lack of interest is that so-called black on black shootings and murders in London have become so commonplace that they are no longer considered newsworthy. Most of the killings and attempted murders are between rival drug dealers and gang members in dispute about territory or the sale of crack cocaine. The Jamaican "Yardie" gangsters and hitmen involved in the profitable drugs market have been copied by black British men typically aged between 18 and 24 who have adopted the Yardies' guns and drugs lifestyle.

In the summer of 2000 "black on black" shootings were big news, with gunmen committing drive-by-shootings, in which queues waiting to go into a club were riddled with bullets. Since then such murders have risen from nine between April and November 2000 to 16 in the same period this year.

The one time when shooting incidents do make the national news is when celebrities are involved such as when a gunman opened fire at a gig featuring the chart-topping band, So Solid Crew, in November. There was huge national coverage after two men were shot and seriously injured and hundreds of terrified people fled the Astoria nightclub in London's West End.

While this incident did receive huge national coverage by the media, ironically it is not thought to be directly linked to the "Yardie" incidents and was most likely a bungled robbery

Even when the police have been successful in locking up killers there is little interest shown by the media.

Earlier this month when Tayo James, 27, a man considered one of the capital's top Yardie-style criminals, was sentenced to life for the shooting dead of Frank Long, a drug dealer, the case did not merit a line in the national press.

Comments