'Honey trap' girl convicted of Shakilus Townsend murder

By John-Paul Ford Rojas,Press Association
Sunday 23 October 2011 03:04

A schoolgirl who acted as a “honey trap” to lure a besotted teenage boy to his death at the hands of a street gang was today convicted of murder.

Samantha Joseph, 16, led Shakilus Townsend, also 16, to a quiet cul-de-sac in south London where he was set upon by gang of teenagers who beat him with baseball bats.

He was then stabbed six times by Danny McLean, Joseph's ex-boyfriend whom she was attempting to win back.

Today after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey, Joseph, McLean, 18, and five others were found guilty of murder. They will all receive life sentences.

As the verdicts were announced Shakilus's mother Nicola Dyer 34, burst into tears. Outside court she said: “This tragedy has absolutely devastated my family. The effect it has had on his siblings has been heartbreaking.

"Although I'm sure this pain will remain with us forever, it's of some comfort today that justice has been done and those responsible will have to pay the consequences for taking my son's life."

Shakilus was killed in July last year after becoming involved in a love triangle with Joseph and McLean. McLean had split up with his younger girlfriend when he learned she had cheated on him with Shakilus, but later decided to exact revenge on his love rival.

The girl, who was only 15 at the time, was said to be prepared to do anything to win back McLean and had told friends she was only with Shakilus because he showered her with gifts.

CCTV footage from the day of the murder shows Shakilus meeting Joseph, who was wearing a see-through floral dress. She told him that she wanted to introduce him to her cousin. In reality she was luring him into a trap. While on the bus she kept in constant contact with McLean via mobile phone.

As the pair arrived at the cul-de-sac in Thornton Heath, south London, Joseph laughed as the gang members attacked Shakilus, punching and kicking him to the ground before McLean plunged his blade into Shakilus's stomach.

As Shakilus lay dying he cried out for his mother and said: “I don't want to die”. Joseph turned and walked away with McLean.

He was wearing a bright orange bandana – a colour which signals he is a member of the “Shine My Nine” gang. On the first day of the trial Joseph wore a bright orange t-shirt in court.

During the trial she admitted agreeing to lead Shakilus to the ambush, but said she believed he would only be beaten up and not killed.

Ms Dyer, giving evidence, said that she had never met Joseph but that Shakilus had shown her pictures of the girl on his mobile phone. She added: “He said he was really in love with this girl, that she was to be his future wife and that she was going to have his kids - he was really smitten with her. I can't understand how she could have callously set him up and lured him to his death."

Detective Inspector Barney Ratcliffe said Joseph had "very calculatingly brought Shakilus to the scene, knowing that he was going to get beaten up. Ever since, she has been very cold and callous about the whole incident, with no signs of emotion.”

He added: “She made various phone calls during that journey bringing Shakilus to the scene, updating the gang through McLean as to where they were going to go and what was going to happen.

"She was an integral part of of what was going to happen - if she hadn't been involved it wouldn't have happened.”

Brothers Tyrell Ellis, 19, and Don-Carlos Ellis, 18, from Thornton Heath, were also convicted of murder, together with Andrew Johnson-Haynes, a 19-year-old former public schoolboy from Croydon who played rugby for London Irish.

Two other youths, Andre Thompson and Michael Akinfenwa, both 17, were found guilty of the charge as well. The defendants were remanded to be sentenced on a date to be fixed.