Gang of six guilty of Shaquille Smith murder

Shenai Raif,Press Association
Tuesday 09 June 2009 16:31

A gang of six youths were found guilty at the Old Bailey today of murdering an innocent 14-year-old schoolboy stabbed in a park.

Shaquille Smith was attacked by a 10-strong bicycle gang called the London Field Boys last August as he sat in the park in front of his home in Hackney, east London.

George Amponsah, 19, Godiowe Dufeal, 20, Amisi Khama, 18, all from Hackney, and three 17-year-olds - Freddie Amponsah, Kadean Dias and Leon Atwell - were found guilty of murder.

Shaquille had been sitting with a 16-year-old girl and a boy on the warm evening instead of doing the dishes at home.

His mother had let him off his daily chores because she thought he would be safe with the older girl, said Aftab Jafferjee QC, prosecuting.

But the gang came into the park near London Fields soon after the trio arrived.

Mr Jafferjee said: "On the night, they were operating as a roving gang of youths with violence on their minds."

Within a short time, the friend had to run away, the girl was cut across the neck and face and Shaquille was killed.

"He was an utterly blameless boy who said nothing and did nothing to anyone in the park to cause offence, let along justify being murdered," Mr Jafferjee said.

"Ordinarily at that time in the evening, that boy would have been doing the dishes but, as he was with the girl, his mother did not call him back into the house, confident that he would complete that chore before going to bed."

Six youths deny murder and affray in St Thomas's Square, Hackney, east London.

Mr Jafferjee said Shaquille's mother looked out of her kitchen window and saw the three smile at her.

Mr Jafferjee said a witness heard Shaquille scream for his mother and he went up to him to see what the problem was.

The target of the gang was allegedly the 17-year-old friend, who had been challenged about his brother.

Mr Jafferjee said that when he confirmed his identity, one of the gang told him: "Well, you are getting it."

When the friend ran off with his dog, the attackers turned on Shaquille and the girl, the court heard.

The six were remanded to 10 July for reports before sentencing.

Judge David Paget warned they would all be given life terms.

He said: "I have to bear in mind not just the age of Shaquille but bear in mind his total innocence."

He praised Shaquille's family for its dignity during the trial.

Shaquille's mother, Sandra Maitland, said in statement to the court: "A knot is in our hearts that will not undo. A light has been dimmed and put out of our lives. We never had a chance to say goodbye."

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