Five guilty of murder in Redbridge revenge attack

Five people have been found guilty of murdering a man in Redbridge in an apparent revenge attack for the attempted murder of another man two months earlier.

Due to COVID restrictions in place last year, the trials were spilt.

Following a seven-week trial at the Old Bailey, on Thursday, July 7, Tyler Moore, 21, of Lawson Close Ilford was also convicted of the murder of 19-year old Mohammed Usman Mirza

Two other men were found guilty of manslaughter: Moeez Bangash, 26, of Gaysham Avenue Ilford, and Jonathan Makengo, 25, of Francis Way Ilford

These three defendants will be sentenced at the same court on Friday, September 16.

This follows an earlier 10-week trial that concluded in October 2021 and saw three men convicted of Mr Mirza’s murder.

  • London Beqa, 20, of Windsor Road, Ilford, was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 14 years
  • Shariq Khan, 21, of Percy Road, Ilford, was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 25 years
  • Hassan Riaz, 22, of Hampton Road, Ilford, was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 24 years

During the latter trial, restrictions around naming an 18-year-old found guilty of murder during the 2021 trial were lifted. He can now be named as Omari Thompson of Northbrook Road Ilford, who was also sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum 15 years.

Detective Chief Inspector Kelly Allen, said: “I would like to pay tribute to Usman’s family who have had to endure two trials to see all of those responsible for his murder brought to justice. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it has been to go through this process twice and hear these harrowing details repeated a second time.

“While all of these men may have played different roles in what happened to Usman, what was clear to us and the jury was this was a carefully planned attack with Usman as the sole target.

“Nothing had been left to chance. They were out for revenge for the attack they believed Usman had orchestrated against their friend. In the lead up to the attack Khan and Bangash maintained an air of friendship with Usman, despite the fact that their loyalties had changed.”

VICTIM: Mohammed Usman Mirza

The jury heard that the attack on Usman was well planned with a series of recces to key locations being carried out in the lead up to the actual ambush. Detectives discovered phone data belonging to Riaz, Khan, Makengo and Moore which implicated each of them in selecting the location.

Detectives discovered the defendants had access to a number of vehicles, the majority of which had been stolen in the days prior to the attack and each had a defined purpose.

On November 19, 2019, Usman, also known as Speccs to his friends, got into a car with Shariq Khan and was driven to a block of garages in Hurstleigh Gardens, Redbridge. A second vehicle entered the garages within moments of Usman’s arrival.

Usman was attacked in the alleyway between these garages and Owen Waters House. He was able to run from the car, but was chased by Khan, Moore, Thompson and Riaz before collapsing on Fullwell Avenue.

Members of the public called police at approximately 10:20pm after they saw a group of men fighting. They reported seeing men with knives attacking Usman, who was calling for help.

Following the attack, witnesses described how the defendants fled the scene in different directions.

In the lead up to the attack, witnesses also described seeing numerous men chasing Usman from the alleyway that leads to the block of garages on Hurstleigh Gardens.

Police found Usman unresponsive after sustaining multiple stab injuries. Usman was assisted by members of the public where a witness reported hearing Usman use the nickname of one of the men who attacked him.

Usman was pronounced dead at 10:53pm at the scene.

Following a post-mortem examination at Walthamstow Mortuary on November 21, 2019, the cause of death was established as a stab wound to the neck. Usman had also sustained multiple stab wounds across his body.

As police were receiving calls about the attack, witnesses were also calling to report a car set alight in the garages on Hurtsleigh Gardens. A witness reported hearing one male say to the other, “don’t forget the petrol can”. A short time later, the witness saw a light coloured 4×4 type vehicle drive off as a red Peugeot burst into flames and smoke began to rise from the garages. This was later confirmed as the vehicle that Usman had got into with Shariq Khan.

The red Peugeot and the white 4×4, later confirmed to be a Chevrolet Captiva, where both burned out in the immediate aftermath of the murder. Later forensic analysis of the Chevrolet found DNA belonging to Khan and Beqa present. Despite the fire damage, a number of clothing items inside the car were later matched to Khan, Makengo and Thompson.

Later checks found that the red Peugeot had been stolen during a burglary in Essex the day before the murder. The Chevrolet was stolen during a knifepoint robbery on October 5 in Ilford. Examination of CCTV footage showed both of these vehicles numerous times in the area around where Usman was attacked.

During the course of the investigation, detectives discovered a third getaway vehicle, a Ford Eco Sport, was used by Moore and Thompson. Mobile phone data suggests that the Ford Eco Sport appears to have been parked on Express Drive. This car is then captured on CCTV leaving the area at the same time the Captiva appears to have been set alight. This car was stolen during a burglary at an address in Chigwell on November 17, two days before the murder. A Vauxhall Mokka, also used by the defendants, was stolen from the same address.

Police were able to link Shariq Khan to the Eco Sport after further analysis of mobile phone data showed him in the area where the car was stolen from on November 17.

The Vauxhall Mokka, stolen at the same time as Eco Sport, was stopped by police on November 20. Riaz and Moore were arrested on suspicion of taking and driving away after initially attempting to run from police. A petrol can was found in the boot of the car and forensic analysis confirmed Shariq Khan’s DNA was present on it.

A fifth vehicle, a legally owned black Volkeswagon Polo, featured earlier in the day of the murder. Beqa was seen using the vehicle to purchase three cans of petrol which were then given to Riaz. This car is also believed to have been used to help Khan and Riaz leave the scene after the Chevolet was set alight.

Police used CCTV footage and mobile phone data to link the defendants to the stolen cars and specific key areas prior to Usman’s murder. Mobile phone data also showed that Bangash organised for the group to meet in Swiss Cottage after carrying out the murder in an apparent ‘de-brief’ of what had happened. Makengo used yet another stolen car – a black Ford Kuga – to get to this meeting, and to drive Bangash, Moore and Thompson to this meeting place.

DCI Kelly Allen, added: “This was a sophisticated plan that was clearly some days in the making. They ensured that had enough stolen vehicles to help them carry out the attack and then attempt to cover their tracks. We also know that the defendants were in and around the area where Usman was killed hours before they launched their attack. There is no doubt that this was a pre-meditated attack.”

An eighth man was found not guilty during the 2021 trial.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]