Boy gangster trapped by Facebook jailed for life

By John-Paul Ford Rojas,Shenai Raif
Sunday 23 October 2011 05:02

A boy gangster who was arrested for two murders and a rape before reaching his 16th birthday was given a life sentence today.

Nathan Harris was told he must serve at least 16 years for ordering the execution of young father Craig Brown on Christmas Eve last year.

Mr Brown was shot five times outside the home of his girlfriend Denica Date and their four-year-old son as he unloaded presents.

Harris, aged 15 at the time, was spotted at the scene by Miss Date, who later identified him after seeing his picture on the social networking site Facebook.

He had set in place the "lethal train of events" that led to the killing after seeing Mr Brown - who he believed to have "dissed" a friend - in the area.

The youth, now 16, of Shepherd's Bush, west London, was found guilty of murder by an Old Bailey jury.

Judge Richard Hawkins told Harris: "Your part in bringing these men to the scene to bring an end to Craig Brown's life was an important part.

"The loss to Denica Date and her young son cannot be measured."

Jeremy Carter-Manning, QC, defending, said Harris's natural father had been in prison for most of the boy's life.

He said Harris was "not a leader of men" adding: "He got caught up in the activities of older and more mature people."

There was an outburst in the public gallery as Harris was led out of court. A woman shouted: "He didn't do it."

Detective Inspector Kenny McDonald, who led the investigation, said Harris had a "violent tendency" and it was "exceptional" for such a young person to be involved in such serious crime.

Video footage posted on YouTube and hand-written rap lyrics found in his bedroom showed the teenager's obsession with guns and violence.

Text messages on his mobile phone appeared to show other youths asking him to procure firearms for them.

Harris had first come to the attention of police when he was 13-years-old following the murder of 16-year-old Kodjo Yenga in March 2007.

He was one of a number of teenagers rounded up by detectives for questioning, although he was never charged with the crime.

In December 2007 when he was 14, Harris was alleged to have taken part, with another youth, in the rape of a teenage girl, but was formally cleared following a trial at Inner London Crown Court.

A second defendant, 22-year-old Khalid Elsheikh, was cleared of murder but jailed for 10 years for possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.