Walthamstow shooting: Three guilty of ‘mistaken identity’ murder

UK
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Joseph Williams-TorresImage copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Joseph Williams-Torres died after being shot on the evening of 14 March 2018

Three people have been found guilty of murdering a man who was shot dead as he sat in a van in north-east London.

Joseph Williams-Torres was sitting with a friend when he was attacked in Walthamstow on 14 March 2018.

The Old Bailey heard the 20-year-old had been killed “by mistake” as part of a turf war between rival youths.

Hamza Ul Haq, 21, of Manor Park, Loic Nengese, 19, of Walthamstow and a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified, were all found guilty of murder.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Hamza Ul-Haq (l), Loic Nengese (r) and a 16-year-old boy all denied murder

The jury was told Mr William-Torres was “targeted” by three hooded youths, who shot him in the chest and legs while he sat in the vehicle.

The attack had been part of a series of “retaliatory” acts of violence between rival gangs, with the three defendants all being associated with a group known as the Mali Boys, the court heard.

The Old Bailey was told they had set out for revenge after Ul Haq was squirted with acid in November 2017, while another boy from the group had been stabbed by masked males in Walthamstow.

Prosecutor Allison Hunter QC said Mr William-Torres’ killing was “undoubtedly a ruthless and planned attack on a rival group member” but the defendants had “mistakenly identified” the victim for another man.

The intended target was the same height and build as Mr Williams-Torres and even wore the same beanie hat, the court was told.

In an impact statement, the victim’s father Tony said his son had the “most beautiful personality and smile”.

“Joseph never deserved to die and we will never be able to forgive those responsible for doing it.

“There will never be a harsh enough sentence or punishment for what they have done,” he said.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The murder weapon was found dumped along with a knife and a face mask

The three defendants had all denied murder.

Ul Haq and Nengese claimed they were not the figures captured on CCTV which showed the murder.

The 16-year-old admitted being at the scene but failed to say who he was there with. He also said he thought the attack was going to be a robbery.

After being found guilty, all three males were remanded in custody to be sentenced on 10 January.

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