Life for 'ruthless' teenage hitman

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The Independent Online

A teenager thought to be Britain's youngest hitman was jailed for life today for shooting a young mother dead for just £200.

Santre Sanchez Gayle, 16, was told he must serve at least 20 years behind bars for the murder of 26-year-old Gulistan Subasi in March last year.

He was just 15 when he blasted Miss Subasi with a sawn-off shotgun in a contract killing in Hackney, east London.

CCTV footage showed him resting the gun on the front gate of the flat where she was staying and blasting her in the chest on the doorstep.

Gayle, known by the street name Riot and related to two other convicted killers, was convicted of murder after boasting of the crime to another youth.

The teenager, of Kensal Rise, north west London, was sentenced at the Old Bailey today alongside Izak Billy, 22, who recruited him for the hit.

Billy, of Willesden, north London, was also found guilty of murder, and given a life sentence with a minimum term of 22 years.

Miss Subasi's former partner Serdar Ozbek, 28, of Wood Green, north London, was accused of ordering the shooting but was cleared of the crime, along with four other defendants.

Judge Stephen Kramer told Billy and Gayle: "It was an efficient, ruthless and calculated execution."

There was sobbing from the public gallery as the killers were taken down to begin their sentences.

The judge told Gayle that his "youth and immaturity" were factors in the crime.

But he added: "Anyone seeing the short but telling CCTV clip of the shooting cannot but be struck by the chillingly deliberate and cold-blooded way in which you went about your business."

The judge described Gayle as a low-level cannabis dealer who expected to be paid £2,000 for the murder but was short-changed and only paid £200.

"You were an easily-led, immature youngster, who, if money was involved, was capable of violence out of loyalty, having cynically been used by others.

"You shot and killed Gulistan for money, and at the bidding of an older man who you were trying to impress."

The judge said it was not possible to say who was behind the killing or who recruited Billy to find someone to carry it out.

Miss Subasi had been staying with her mother at the time and was about to celebrate the birthday of her young child.

The judge told her killers: "You have deprived a mother of a much-loved daughter and a son of his mother."

He told Billy: "You took advantage of your younger friend, Gayle. You knew he would do as he did at your bidding for money."

The court heard that, after the murder, hoodie-wearing Gayle was driven away, leaving the victim's mother, Dondu Subasi, to discover her daughter in the doorway with a tennis ball-sized hole in her chest.

Mrs Subasi later told the court in a statement that the shooting was "always before my eyes".

In his evidence, the teenager said his interests included girls, football, playing on his XBox and using Facebook.

But he was also related to two other young murderers - half-brother Donnel Carty and cousin Lloywen Carty.

Donnel Carty was jailed for life in November 2006 for the murder of lawyer Tom ap Rhys Pryce as he made his way home from Kensal Green Tube station.

Lloywen Carty was given a life sentence the following month over the shooting of Lee Subaran, 27, after the Notting Hill Carnival in 2004.

Gayle was apparently unfazed after being arrested and charged with Miss Subasi's murder, telling a fellow prisoner in a note that "the evidence they have on me is circumstantial, nothing forensic".

While some of it could prove "sticky", he added: "My barrister should be able to rip it open."

"They can't prove I was there on the night," he said.

Gayle's recorded criminal career dates back to an attempted robbery at the age of 14 for which he was given a referral order.

He was later given a four-month detention and training order for a public order offence committed in December 2009.

Victor Temple QC, prosecuting, described the victim, of Turkish origin, as "attractive" and "independent" but told jurors that at times her behaviour and choice of company could be "questionable".

She had run away from home to live with Ozbek and they had a son together, but they later split up and she left Britain for Turkey. The boy then went to live with his father.

Miss Subasi, who would return from time to time to see her son, arrived in London in March last year for a brief visit. She was due to marry in Turkey in May.

Mr Temple said: "Police received an emergency call shortly after the shooting. Gulistan was found being cradled by her mother, and she was lying in the doorway."

Gayle later told another youth he had been recruited by Billy, that he had used a shotgun and had received "a mere £200" while Billy had received thousands, Mr Temple said.

Outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire said: "This was a harrowing and tragic case.

"The frightening thing is his confidence and his lack of remorse. Even though he is only 15, he knew what he was doing.

"Anyone answering the door would have been shot. There were two other women in the flat that night."