Four men who threatened police officers with a firearm during a vehicle pursuit in east London last summer were sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday, 1 March.
Lekan Akinsoji, 21 (15.01.98), of no fixed address had previously been found guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to commit GBH. He was sentenced to 26 years’ imprisonment.
Nathaniel Lewis, 23 (06.01.96), of Earlham Grove, E7 had previously been found guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to commit GBH. He was sentenced to 26 years’ imprisonment.
Darnell Joseph-Newill, 21 (26.03.97), of Willis Road, E15 had previously been found guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to commit GBH. He was sentenced to 26 years’ imprisonment.
Troy Ifill, 22 (13.12.96) of Torrens Square, E15 had previously been found guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to commit GBH. He was sentenced to 26 years’ imprisonment.
Recognising the dangerousness of the offending, the judge ordered that each man must serve a minimum of two-thirds of the sentence before being eligible to apply for parole.
On 26 July 2018 at approximately 22:45hrs, police were called to Lascelles Close, E11, to reports of men in the area brandishing a firearm.
Armed officers made their way to the area and spotted a BMW Series 1 matching the description of the car on Cathall Road, Leytonstone. After following the vehicle for a short time, the car made off. Officers activated blue lights and sirens indicating for the car to stop, but it did not.
A pursuit began on Cobden Road, E11, ending in Bective Road, E7. During the pursuit the occupants of the vehicle brandished a firearm at officers in the marked police vehicle.
Officers used a specialist pursuit tactic, making contact with the BMW, causing damage to both vehicles. The BMW failed to stop and continued at high speed along Odessa Road. During this part of the pursuit the officers in the ARV believed they saw the gun pointed at them again.
The pursuit ended when the BMW was blocked by an oncoming vehicle in Bective Road. The driver of the BMW fled the scene whilst the other occupants of the car were detained by police. All of the men were wearing face coverings and gloves and one man wore a clown mask. Two of the men were carrying lock knives.
Officers discovered a loaded shortened shotgun, a large Zombie-style knife and a Zombie-style axe in the car. A hunting knife was found under the car. A can of petrol together with the original registration plate belonging to the car were also found in the back of the vehicle.
It was later established that the car had been stolen during a burglary in Barnet earlier in July. The firearm was examined by a forensic firearms expert and identified as a single-barrelled shotgun, loaded with a 12-bore cartridge.
All four men were found to be gang members and had produced a number of ‘drill’ music videos, including videos bragging about gang activity and serious criminality.
The judge stated that the men knew what they were doing, adding that none of them were ‘naïve or immature’. He added that in his mind, if they had found a rival gang member, there is no doubt that they would have inflicted ‘life-threatening injuries’.
DCI Jane Topping, from Trident, said: “I am very pleased with the substantial sentences these men have been ordered to serve today. These are extremely dangerous men with strong gang affiliations, as was recognised by the judge.
“Given the weapons they had with them, including a firearm and zombie knives, I have no doubt that their intention was to seriously injure or kill someone.
“The men made no effort to stop for police and brandished a firearm at officers during the subsequent pursuit. I would like to pay tribute to the officers in the armed response vehicle who responded with bravery and professionalism in arresting these men.
"I hope that today’s sentence sends out a clear message to anyone thinking of carrying a weapon that the Met Police works tirelessly to bring violent criminals to justice, and that the courts will seek to impose stringent sentences wherever necessary.”