'Honeytrap' girl gets 10 years for boy's murder

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The Independent Online

A teenage girl who acted as a "honeytrap" to lure a smitten 16-year-old to his death at the hands of a love rival was locked up for a minimum of 10 years today.

Samantha Joseph led lovestruck Shakilus Townsend into an ambush in a quiet cul-de-sac where he was beaten with baseball bats and stabbed six times.

The teenager bled to death after the "relentless and merciless attack" by a masked and hooded gang in Thornton Heath, south London, in July last year.

Joseph, who was 15 at the time, laughed as they caught up with him, walking away as they began their brutal assault.

Her older boyfriend, Danny McLean, plunged a knife into Shakilus's chest, raking it across his liver before twisting the blade.

Joseph, 17, from Brockley, south London, was ordered to be detained for a minimum of 10 years.

As he lay bleeding to death, Shakilus, from Deptford, south east London, called out for his mother and cried: "I don't want to die."

Judge Richard Hawkins told the gang: "You left him to die a lonely death, crying for his mother."

Joseph, and McLean, 18, from Thornton Heath, were found guilty of murder alongside five other youths in July.

They were all given life terms today as Shakilus's mother wept at the back of the court.

Nicola Dyer, 34, said in a statement read to the court by a lawyer: "The reality that these young people with no souls had such a disregard for life that they deliberately conspired to use manipulation to cause nothing short of destruction is absolutely soul-destroying for me.

"They should never again be allowed to destroy another family. I may forgive them one day, but not today."

McLean was ordered to serve a minimum 15 years' detention. Andre Thompson, 17, from Norwood, south east London, was given a minimum 14-year term.

Former public schoolboy and London Irish rugby player Andre Johnson-Haynes, 18, from Croydon, south London, brothers Tyrell Ellis, 19, and Don-Carlos Ellis, 18, of Thornton Heath, together with Michael Akinfenwa, 18, from Norwood, were given minimum sentences of 12 years.

Judge Hawkins said Joseph had "come under the malign influence" of McLean.

As the male defendants were led from the court, they began making defiant noises and were joined by their supporters in the public gallery.

The court heard that Shakilus was besotted with the girl and told his mother he wanted to marry her, but she told friends she was just using him and treated him like "s***".

While Joseph was happy for him to shower her with gifts, she was still obsessed with McLean.

He had dumped her when he found out about her relationship with Shakilus but she was prepared to do anything to get him back.

McLean told her: "If you still love me, will you set up Shak?" Joseph agreed.

CCTV footage from the day of the murder showed her wearing a see-through floral dress as she met Shakilus and took a bus with him.

He thought they were on their way to meet her cousin but in fact she was leading him into the teeth of an ambush in a quiet cul-de-sac, secretly keeping in touch with McLean by mobile phone all the while.

Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: "She agreed to set up the hapless Shakilus Townsend in a honey trap with a lethal and tragic twist.

"She was more than equal to the task. She played her part to perfection, duping Shakilus who could see no wrong in her, the others in hot pursuit of him."

After the murder, Joseph was seen walking off with McLean, carrying his hoodie and a cream-coloured handbag stained with his blood from an injury sustained during the murderous melee.

She later tried to "rub out" all traces of her relationship with Shakilus, deleting his online Bebo account and telling friends to erase his number from their phones.

Detective Inspector Barney Ratcliffe said: "Knife crime will only end up in this sort of tragedy when a young lad is killed because he loves a girl - the wrong girl in this case."