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Arrest made in 17-year-old investigation into murder of man shot in Shoreditch

News   •   May 09, 2019 16:03 BST

Marvin Couson

Detectives investigating the murder of Marvin Couson, who died 13 years after he was shot in Shoreditch, have made an arrest for firearms offences.

A 40-year-old man was arrested this morning, Thursday 9 May, on suspicion of possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. He remains in custody at a west London police station at this stage.

Marvin died on Saturday, 8 August 2015 having been confined to a hospital bed unable to communicate or do anything for himself since he was shot at the Lime in London Bar - commonly known as the Lime Bar - in Curtain Road, Shoreditch, on Saturday, 12 May 2002. A £40,000 reward remains on offer to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for Marvin's death.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “We are days away from the 17th anniversary of Marvin’s shooting and this morning we have made a significant arrest.

“I hope that it will encourage people to take themselves back to the Lime Bar on 12 May 2002. Witnesses have come forward and we are hugely grateful for their help but heartbreakingly some have not or have given incomplete accounts of what happened that night.

“I understand by the nature of the crime there may reluctance to get involved or perhaps people just feel they have moved on as it was so long ago. Well, Marvin’s family haven’t, they have endured years of heartache, visiting his hospital bedside every day for 13 years while he lay paraylsed before finally succumbing to his injuries. They cannot hope to move forward without your help - what would you want people to do if it was your child? Were you one of those in the car with the man who fatally shot Marvin? Maybe you are scared as you feel embroiled in his actions but there was only one person who pulled that trigger and I encourage you to make that call to me.

“We still have a significant reward on offer to anyone who can assist our investigation and we continue to piece together what happened that night.

“Marvin was visiting the venue with a friend when a disturbance began between one of the promoters of the garage and hip-hop event, called ‘Ouch’, playing that night and a group of between 10 and 15 black men. Another man approached the group, lifted his arm and discharged a small handgun.

“This man is described as black and aged in his early 20s. Importantly he was wearing a distinctive black three-quarter length duffle coat with large buttons and the hood up. He really would have stood out – a man in a heavy coat in May inside a hot and crowded club. I know it is a long time ago but those events would undoubtedly stick in your mind if you were there – did you see this man or who was around him that night? Do you have any information about what happened? Please come forward in confidence.”

The shot fired caused security staff to clear the bar of around 200 customers into Curtain Road and Worship Street. Marvin, then aged 26 and working fitting security systems for retailers, and his friend were among them.

Outside Marvin's friend saw a T-reg red or burgundy Ford Fiesta, thought to contain at least two black men, driving fast along Curtain Road. The vehicle struck him and he grappled with the front seat passenger.

A gun was then fired and the friend walked back towards the bar to see Marvin lying shot on the ground. Marvin was shot outside the bar, but it is unclear if the shot came from the Fiesta.

A further incident had also taken place outside the club. Another man and his friend were approached by three men with handguns who pistol-whipped them and searched their car. One of the suspects were described as wearing a duffle coat and also suffering from a skin condition called vitiligo, with lighter blotches on his skin.

DCI McHugh said: “It is highly likely this is the same man who fired the shot inside the club and the pistol-whipping incident adds more to his description. Did you see what happened outside the club as people poured out? It would have been chaotic but again an incident like this would have stood out.

”All indications are that Marvin died because he became caught up in a dispute that night between organised criminal gangs from London and Birmingham. It is all the more sad as Marvin was not involved in gangs or criminality and we believe he was an entirely innocent victim of a dispute that had nothing to do with him.

"A lot of time has passed and loyalties change so I hope for the sake of Marvin's family - and his two now grown-up children - that someone can find it within themselves to do the right thing.”

Police were called to the venue at 03:40hrs to reports of gunfire.

On arrival officers found Marvin, who lived in Darlington Road, West Norwood, on the ground outside the bar with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was taken by ambulance to the Royal London Hospital in a critical condition with injuries to his heart and other internal organs.

After an operation he was transferred to the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability in Putney. He was unable to care for himself or leave his hospital bed. He could not communicate and had no capacity to understand anything said to him.

Police were informed by the hospital that he died at 22:40hrs on 8 August 2015. A post-mortem examination gave cause of death as brain injury suffered as a direct result of the shooting.

Trident officers took on the case immediately following the shooting and made several appeals for witnesses and information. One man was arrested, on 23 May 2002, but subsequently released with no further action.

After Marvin’s death the homicide command took on the case. On Thursday, 14 September 2017 detectives interviewed a 37-year-old man under caution. The man was a serving prisoner with links to a Birmingham gang.

Marvin’s sister Margaret Couson said today: “On Sunday 12 May it will be the anniversary of Marvin’s shooting. It is remarkable that it is 17 years since Marvin was shot and his killer remains at large, not a day goes by when we don’t think of Marvin.

“That awful incident has ruined so many lives and each day I wake and go to sleep thinking of Marvin. I ask ‘Why?’ Marvin wasn’t involved in crime, he loved life and his family, he had the best years of his life ahead of him. His two children turn 20 and their only memory is their dad being in hospital and the face of a media campaign. They have been robbed of just having their dad there.

“I am encouraged that no matter how much time passes by, the police do not give up and we as a family most certainly will not give up our fight for justice. Things do not just move on, we have been in trauma for 17 years.

“Today’s arrest is really encouraging, combined with the anniversary I hope it will make people talk and I pray that the information makes its way to the police either directly or through Crimestoppers. Yes 17 years have passed, but witnesses are living with what they saw that night. Many including the suspect may well have families; you may even have a teenage child - look at your child and think what would you want witnesses to do if it was your loved one.

“It is possible that the gunman didn’t intend to shoot Marvin and he may have turned his life around; that does not in any away take away the torturous 17 years that we as a family have faced and the future will not get any easier without the community’s support.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8785 8099 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

+ The Lime in London bar no longer exists - it is now the Queen of Hoxton pub