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Drill rap gang jailed for planning machete revenge attack on rivals

Judge to decide on proposal to ban group from making 'inflammatory' music videos

Chris Baynes
Monday 11 June 2018 20:49 BST
Members of the drill rap gang 1011 in their video 'No Hook'
Members of the drill rap gang 1011 in their video 'No Hook' (Metropolitan Police/1011)

Gang members who made “aggressive and violent” music videos in which they rapped about stabbing rivals have been jailed after being caught with machetes.

Micah Bedeau, 19, Yonas Girma, 21, Isaac Marshall, 18, Jordean Bedeau, 17, and Rhys Herbert, 17, were each imprisoned or detained on Monday for their role in a planned revenge attack on another gang.

A judge has yet to decide whether to ban the west London group from making drill music, a dark and confrontational genre of rap which they record under the name 1011.

The Metropolitan Police had asked for the Ladbroke Grove gang to be given criminal behaviour orders to prevent them making drill videos which “reference violence” for up to five years.

The force warned the group’s lyrics risked inflaming violent crime, citing references to stabbing and shooting a rival gang.

But lawyers for the members of 1011, whose music has been streamed more than 11 million times on YouTube, suggested the content of the videos was just “one-upmanship” and said no one had been harmed as a result.

All five admitted conspiracy to commit violent disorder after they were found with machetes, baseball bats and a knife in November last year.

Kingston Crown Court heard they planned a revenge attack on members of rival gang 12 World, from Shepherd’s Bush, who had filmed themselves harassing Bedeau’s gradmother.

A clip of 12 World members abusing and threatening her for entering their area was posted on Snapchat and later appeared on YouTube with the words: “Micah come get your grandma, she’s lacking [protection] on our strip.”

The 1011 members initially claimed their weapons were props for a music video but judge Ann Mulligan said she was certain “serious violence” would have followed if they had not been arrested.

All five gang members were given custodial sentences:

  • Micah Bedeau, of Colville Square, Notting Hill, was sentenced to three years and six months in a young offenders’ unit
  • Yonas Girma, 21, of Hounslow Road, Hanworth, was jailed for three years and six months
  • Isaac Marshall, 18, of Ladbroke Grove, was given two years detention
  • Jordan Bedeau, 17, of Colville Square, Notting Hill, was given a one-year detention and training order
  • Rhys Herbert, 17, of Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill, was given a one-year detention and training order

A decision on the CBOs will be made on Friday.

The police proposal to prevent the group making music videos came is controversial, with critics suggesting the strategy would be unfair and ineffective.

“All that ignoring what it’s saying and supressing it is going to do is push it further down and it will pop up in more extreme places,” youth worker Ciaran Thapar told The Independent.

Former Met Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said he was “not convinced” drill was responsible for rising violence.

But Detective Chief Superindent Kevin Southworth, who heads the Met’s Trident gang crime command, said the force was “not here to demonise drill music” and would only act “where somebody is clearly and solely trying to provoke an act of violence.”

Prosecutors presented seven of 1011’s videos to the court, some of which had been deleted from YouTube at the request of Scotland Yard.

“The lyrics, mainly written by Herbert, referenced several real and often violent events,” said Det Chf Supt Southworth. ”Their aim was purely to glorify gangs and violence.”

But barristers for the gang members pointed out successful rappers such as Wiley began making videos that provoked rival gangs.

“If these artists can start out in exactly the same way as those in the dock, then there’s hope for them,” said Laurie-Anne Power, representing Jordan Bedeau.

Drill, which originated in Chicago before crossing over to south London, has been blamed by Met commissioner Cressida Dick for inflaming gang feuds that are driving rising knife crime on London’s streets.

Drill tracks often features lyrics about gang disputes, guns, drugs and stabbings, as well as lines mocking rivals personally, but fans say the genre reflects the lives of young people in deprived city estates.

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