Teenager jailed for life for 'Wild West' shooting

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A teenager was jailed for life today after being found guilty of murdering Polish nursing assistant Magda Pniewska in a "Wild West" shoot-out.

Armel Gnango, 18, was told he will have to serve at least 20 years after being sentenced at St Albans Crown Court.

Miss Pniewska, 26, was caught in the crossfire while Gnango and a mystery teenager in a bandana fired at each other across a car park in New Cross, south London, in October last year.

Mr Justice Cook told Gnango: "The fact of the matter is that you went armed to find your man who then shot at you and a gun fight ensued.

"Either of you might have been killed. You plainly intended to kill the other and instead of either of you dying an innocent nursing assistant was killed instead."

Miss Pniewska was talking on her mobile phone to her sister, Elzbieta Luby, in Poland when a bullet struck her in the forehead.

Both teenagers, then aged 17, ran off as she collapsed on the bottom step of some stairs where the other teenager was firing at Gnango.

Her mobile fell to the ground, as did her shopping bags which contained toys for her dog donated by pensioners at the care home where she worked next to the car park.

Gnango denied murder but was found guilty by an Old Bailey jury last month.

For the protection of the public the judge also gave Gnango a minimum 12-year sentence for attempted murder and a five-year sentence for possession of a firearm. Both sentences are to run concurrently.

Gnango also pleaded guilty to having a prohibited weapon. The judge ordered this count to remain on the file.

The court had been told that the gun which fired the fatal bullet in John Williams Close, New Cross, was not Gnango's.

But prosecutor Brian Altman QC said Gnango was still responsible for the killing because he was involved in the gun fight.

The court was told a second youth, who had a red bandana over the lower part of his face, had also been arrested but not charged.

He had been named by Gnango but had denied being involved. Police had insufficient evidence to charge him, the court was told.