Murdergate (1)

Tuesday 12 July 2016

We have recently come across a website dedicated to providing details of every reported murder in London since the time of Jack the Ripper ( The authors accept it is a tall order, but they have made significant steps in tracking most murders committed over the last 15 years.  The reports on the site are based on court records and press accounts.

The site's search engine is pretty effective, and so we've tracked details of 18 Forest Gate murders, most of which have been solved, since 2003.  We present the findings, complete with photos of most of the victims and those convicted, over two posts.

The reports are pretty gruesome, but throw up a number of interesting conclusions.

Firstly, Forest Gate has averaged a murder and a half, per year since 2003, and it is somewhat reassuring that all but 3 of them has been "solved", in so far as the perpetrators have been found and sentenced. Two of the three "unsolved" cases have identified suspects, who are awaiting trial.

The UK national "average" murder rate is currently approximately one murder per 100,000 of the population. Forest Gate's population is approximately 45,000, suggesting that the local "murder rate" is approximately three times the national average.

Although this murder rate may seem high, for a relatively small district and population; the area, as such is not "dangerous". The headline figure of numbers disguises the fact that there are very few "random" murders, with victims being completely unknown or unrelated to the killer. 

So, disturbing as the rate is, the chances of being randomly murdered in the street, by a stray bullet, for example, is thankfully incredibly low (odds of more than one million to one).

Unsurprisingly, the most frequent explanation of the murders (five of the 18 cases examined) was a domestic dispute. The six people convicted of these five murders were sentenced to a total of 128 years imprisonment.

The most shocking thing about the other cases is the relatively inconsequential nature of many of the "motives" for the murders, and the heavy price paid by the perpetrators for what was often a moment's madness.

So, a row over a pinched bottom in a nightclub saw two people murdered and two convicted men receiving jail sentences of 68 years, in total. A row over a parking space resulted in the murder of two victims, with the convicted killer receiving a 26 year prison sentence. Two victims were killed because of drug debts.  Their killers received 15 years and an indefinite sentence in Broadmoor, respectively.

One victim was clearly "the wrong man"; his killer received 30 years.

Most shockingly, perhaps, was that one young man was killed as part of a robbery for his mobile phone and his killer received indefinite detention, and another young man was killed over an unpaid £15 debt.  His killer was given a 15 year sentence.

In this, the first of two posts, we provide details of the first (chronologically) nine of the area's 18 murders.

1 and 2. Amarjit Singh Tiwana and Rajinder Singh Tiwana : Date of murder:29 Aug 2003, solved (parking place)
Businessman Amarjit Singh Tiwana, 52, and his nephew Rajinder Singh Tiwana, 25, were shot dead with a sub-machine gun in broad daylight, as they  were visiting the Forest View Hotel at 227 Romford Road, which they jointly owned, on 29 August 2003.

But this wasn't a gangland killing. They were murdered over a trivial parking dispute. Unable to get past a Volkswagen Golf blocking entry the back of the hotel on Atherton Mews, they left their van across the end of the road.

Victims: Rajinder Singh Tiwana
 and Amarjit Singh Tiwana
When the driver of the Golf, 20 year-old Mohammed Ayub Khan, returned from Friday prayers at the mosque, he was unable to get out and began beeping his horn. After an argument with the Tiwanas he left the scene, only to return with two other men a few minutes later to attack the van.

When Amarjit and Rajinder ran out to confront the group they were gunned down using a Mac 10 machine pistol. The attack was witnessed by Amarjit's 26 year-old daughter Harjinder, who was able to identify Khan as the gunman.

By that time Khan had fled to Pakistan. He was placed on the Met's Most Wanted list in 2004 but was not arrested until he travelled to Bangladesh in August 2010. On 12 December 12, 2011, Khan was convicted of both murders at Woolwich Crown Court and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 26 years before parole.

Detectives are still appealing for help identifying the two other men involved and locating the murder weapon.

Convicted: Mohammed Ayub Khan
DI Yeats said: "We are still seeking two casually dressed Asian men wearing hooded tops in their late teens or early 20's. They ran away from the scene during the busy period after Friday prayers and turned right into Norwich Road, crossed Romford Road and continued south in Margery Park Road where they may have got into a parked vehicle".

3. Rizwan Darbar: Date of murder: 7 Oct 2007, solved (robbery)
On the afternoon of 7 October 2007, A-level Student Rizwan Darbar was hanging out in West Ham Park, listening to music on his friend's mobile phone. Kirkland Gayle approached the group and snatched the phone, adding: "I haven't seen you around before."

They asked for it back but a second youth, 19 year-old Anthony Maina, appeared from the bushes with a knife in his hand. He quickly jabbed Rizwan in the stomach, severing a major artery, after being told: 'Poke him.'

Victim: Rizwan Darbar
As the killers ran off with the phone, the victim screamed 'I've been juked' and bled to death.

Maina was arrested on suspicion of murder but released on police bail - and then took part in a robbery which left the Hackney Matalan store manager Jamie Simpson stabbed to death.

In August 2009, Maina, from Beckton, was convicted of the murder of Rizwan Darbar and locked up for a minimum of 14 years.

Anthony Maina, convicted of murdering
 Rizwan Darbar and of manslaughter
 in Matalan robbery
Gayle, from Stratford, was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter and robbery and jailed for eight years.

Maina was later convicted of manslaughter for his role in the Matalan robbery and given an indefinite prison sentence in March 2010.

4. Karl Gbedemah: Date of murder:1 Aug 2008, unsolved (unknown cause)
Karl Gbedemah, 47, was killed in the head by a stray bullet (in a moment of supreme irony) as he stood near the Live and Let Live on Romford Road in the early hours of 1 August  2008.

It is thought the murder weapon, a converted Baikal pistol, was fired during a clash between two groups of men in nearby Sprowston Road.

Mr Gbedemah, known as ''Kudjo'', was taken to hospital at 3.45pm but was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

DJ Emmanuel Sakyi, 22, was charged with murder and stood trial at Woolwich Crown Court but claimed he left the pub before the shooting.

The jury cleared him of all charges in June 2010.

5. Michael Wright: Date of murder:19 Feb 2009, solved (argument between associates)
Student Michael Wright, 17, was stabbed to death when he asked his friend to pay him back £15. He had lent 16 year-old Bradley Walters-Stewart the cash to pay the entrance fee to a nightclub six days earlier.

In the days before his death he made a series of visits to Mr Walters-Stewart's home in Forest Gate, At 10pm on 19 February he knocked at the house again but got no answer and kicked the door in frustration.

Victim: Michael Wright
After contacting him by phone, Michael managed to arrange a meeting with his friend - known as M-kid - outside Maryland train station in Stratford. During the confrontation, Walter-Stewart was heard shouting: "Who the fuck do you think you are coming to my house like that?".

He then stabbed Michael in the abdomen with a knife he had brought from his kitchen. Witnesses heard the victim plead 'don't shank me' as Walters-Stewart pulled out the knife.

Bradley Walters-Stewart - convicted of murder
 and sentenced to a minimum of 14 years
The killer then walked away 'slowly and casually' as passers-by rushed to the victim's aid. Police found Walters-Stewart hiding in the loft of his mum's flat two days later.

During the Old Bailey trial he claimed Michael fell on to the knife when the two boys started fighting in the street. He was convicted of murder at the Old Bailey and sentenced to detention for life in June 2009 and ordered to serve a minimum of 14 years behind bars.

6. Syed Shazad Abbass: Date of murder:7 Sept 2009, solved (drugs debt)
Syed Shazad Abbass was kidnapped and tortured over a suspected drugs debt on 7 September 2009. He was bundled into an Audi A3 outside his home in Earlham Grove, Forest Gate at around 3.30am.

Mr Abbass, who ran a window fitting business and traded in second hand cars, was found dressed only in his boxer shorts on a pavement in Flanders Road, East Ham, east London, later that morning.

He was taken to hospital with a brain haemorrhage but was pronounced dead the next day. He had also lost or broken several teeth, suffered a broken nose and eye socket, a lighter burn to his thigh and a series of small puncture wounds across his back.

At 6.15am police were called to Royston Gardens in Ilford, where they found the victim's burnt out Audi. A search of Mr Abbass' second car, a Honda, revealed crack cocaine and heroin in a door panel.

Blaize Lunkulu, of Weymarks, Weir Hall Road, Tottenham, and Vikar Khan, of St Stephen's Close, Walthamstow, were originally charged with murder. They pleaded guilty to manslaughter, conspiracy to kidnap and pervert the course of justice on 2 August 2010.

Blaize Lunkulu - imprisoned for
public protection, minimum of six years

On 27 October 2010 Lunkulu was sentenced to imprisonment for public protection with a minimum of six years and four months before parole and Khan, who claimed he did not take part in the violence after the initial abduction, was sentenced to nine years imprisonment.

Judge Stephen Kramer QC said: 'The circumstances of the offences are truly horrific. 'You and the deceased were involved in the drugs scene. He apparently owed drugs and cash. That was the start of the violence, humiliation and torture of the deceased. 'You were then both involved in trying to destroy evidence.'

7. Mahmood Jama: Date of murder:6 Jan 2010, solved (drugs related)
Mahmood Jama, 21, was shot at the Whyteville House block of flats in Upton Lane at around 1am on 6 January 2010.

Mr Jama, a British citizen born in Somalia and living at Boundary Road, Plaistow, died two hours later in hospital of a shotgun wound to the chest.

Victim: Mahmood Jama
The Old Bailey heard he had been involved in a feud with a teenage drug dealer in the run up to the shooting.

Witnesses said the gun went off as the two men tussled over the weapon on the first floor lift bay.

On April 19, 2011, Mohamed Farah Ali, 19, was convicted of manslaughter. Two months later he was locked up indefinitely at Broadmoor Hospital under sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act.

8 and 9. Patrick Ford and  Eugene Brown: Date of murder:29 May 2010, solved (argument in club)
Two men were shot dead outside the now defunct Sugar Lounge nightclub, Katherine Road, on the morning of 29 May 2010.

The first victim, Patrick Ford, 36, died at the scene after being shot in the chest in Katherine Road. His friend Eugene Brown, 27, died in hospital from a bullet wound to the head five weeks later on July 7.

Victims: Patrick Ford and Eugene Brown

The gunman, Michael Smith, was also shot in the head, shoulder and buttock after being chased through the street by Kevin Powell but survived. All three shootings were captured on CCTV footage.

Two men were charged with both murders: Michael Smith, 27, of Beaconsfield Road, Canning Town, east London, and Nana Oppong, 30, of West Road, Stratford, east London. Kevin Powell, 34, of Harlesden Road, Willesden, was charged with attempted murder.

All three first went on trial at the Old Bailey on 22 March 2011. The prosecution case was that the incident started when Eugene Brown fired four shots into the ceiling of the club after a man groped his girlfriend's buttocks.

Convicted: Michael Smith.
Sentenced to a minimum of 34 years
Oppong, who was celebrating his 30th birthday that night, was said to have handed a gun to Smith and pointed out Mr Brown outside the club. Smith opened fire, shooting Mr Brown in the back of the head. Mr Ford, who was trying to take away Mr Brown's gun, was hit in the chest by a stray bullet and died of a fatal injury to his heart.

Powell then grabbed Mr Ford's gun and chased Mr Smith down the road, repeatedly opening fire. Smith managed to get into a car containing Oppong and was taken to hospital
Smith claimed he opened fire in self defence thinking Mr Brown was still armed, Oppong denied involvement in the murder and Mr Powell also claimed he acted in self defence.

Convicted: Kevin Powell.
Sentenced to 34 years
In June 2011 Smith was convicted of two counts of murder. The jury were unable to reach verdicts on Oppong and Powell and a retrial began on 9 May 2012.

The second jury convicted Powell of attempted murder but were unable to reach verdicts on Oppong. On September 21 the prosecution announced they would not seek a third trial and Oppong was formally found not guilty of the two murder charges. He was jailed for two years for perverting the course of justice by lying to police.

Smith was jailed for life with a minimum of 34 years before parole and Powell was sentenced to 34 years imprisonment.


The Murder map website (here) is run by volunteers and receives no official funding. They would be grateful for any donations, to keep their project active. Details can be found on the site.  We express our thanks to them for their meticulous work, which has enabled this post to be written.


  1. This has to be the most depressing and disturbing item on this website. What purpose does it serve?

  2. Multiculturalism isn't working


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