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Man found guilty of Fulham murder

News   •   May 29, 2018 16:09 BST

[Jailed - Omar Hutson]

A man who shot dead a rival in a targeted attack has been jailed.

Omar Hutson, 31 (07.01.87), of Cassidy Road, SW6, was found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey today, Tuesday, 29 May following a trial.

He was sentenced immediately afterwards to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 32 years.

A charge of possession of a firearm while committing a schedule 1 offence was left to lie on file.

On Monday, 5 December 2016 police were called by a member of the public at about 21:30hrs to reports of shots fired in Walham Grove.

Officers, along with the London Ambulance Service, attended the location. A man sat in the front passenger seat of a parked car - later identified as 24-year-old Salim Coulter - was found suffering a gun shot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 21:51hrs.

Salim was training to be a gas engineer and lived at his family's address in White City.

Salim had been out that evening with one of his friends. They stopped for something to eat at the Jerky Chicken restaurant in Walham Grove. They parked the car they were driving in Walham Grove, near to the junction with North End Road.

About 40 minutes later they left the restaurant and returned to the car. Salim got into the front passenger seat when a crouched, hooded male ran towards the car, directly to the front passenger door, and immediately discharged his firearm at point blank range into Salim's head.

The shooter then closed the passenger door and ran around to the closed driver's door. He looked towards the driver and paused before returning to the passenger side and crouching down. The driver then got out of the vehicle and ran towards North End Road. The suspect then fled the scene in the direction of Farm Lane.

A number of residents in Walham Grove were alerted to the shooting after hearing a loud bang and they called 999.

The court heard that Hutson and Salim were rival drug dealers in Hammersmith and Fulham and they had an ongoing feud. On 5 December, Hutson either received a tip-off or saw for himself that Salim was in Walham Grove.

Hutson's car was caught on CCTV driving into Waltham Grove at 21:21hrs. The car left immediately after the shooting and followed a journey consistent with the route back to Huston's home address.

Though the vehicle registration mark on the car could not be distinguished, the car on CCTV had faulty indicators and a dimmer back light. Hutson's car, the same colour and make of the vehicle on the CCTV, also had identical lighting anomalies.

Following police enquiries, Hutson was identified as a suspect. On 15 December 2016 officers executed a warrant at an address in Fitzhugh Grove, SW18 and arrested Hutson on suspicion of murder.

Officers carried out further enquiries, including forensics that linked firearms discharge residue recovered from the scene, to particles found in Hutson's car and also inside a rucksack recovered when he was arrested.

The court also heard that Hutson had two mobile phones that he used on a regular basis. At the time of the murder, Hutson's phones had been turned off, which was unusual for him, because he did not want to leave an electronic-trail of evidence of his location.

Hutson laid low after the murder and he discarded both his mobile phones and started using a new one.

Hutson, who gave 'no comment' interviews to police, was charged on 17 December 2016.

The court heard that in an attempt to de-rail Hutson's trial, originally listed for June 2017, associates dropped-off 'dashcam' footage at his defence solicitors a few days before the original trial was due to start.

The footage purported to be Hutson's alibi for the exact time of the murder, showing Hutson and two friends travelling around the W11 area.

However, police enquiries revealed that the footage had been recorded some days after Salim's murder and prior to Hutson's arrest.

When the inconsistencies were served on the defence team in advance of his trial Hutson then claimed the footage was in fact a 'reconstruction of events' he had prepared for use in the eventuality that the case against him went to trial.

Today, the judge commended the investigation team for their 'painstaking work.'

In a statement, Salim's mother Fouzia said: "I lost my son, Salim, in a callous and violent attack nearly 18 months ago. I still experience the pain and anguish of his death, daily.

"Today for the first time since then I am able to feel a small semblance of comfort knowing that this extremely dangerous man responsible for Salim's death is now in prison where he belongs and he will remain there for a very long time.

"London is a safer place today now that he is off the streets and he can harm and scare people no longer.

"I want to thank the police and the prosecution team for all of their hard work in bringing Salim's killer to justice.

"I also wish to give thanks for the bravery of all the people that gave evidence in this trial and helped to get justice for Salim and my family."

Detective Inspector Simon Deefholts, the senior investigating officer from the Met's Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "I am pleased that Hutson has been brought to justice and is now behind bars, especially for Salim's family. This was a premeditated targeted execution that was carried out so quickly that Salim was unable to defend himself.

"Hutson travelled quickly to the location armed with a gun and laid in wait for Salim. After the shooting, Hutson made strenuous efforts to hide any evidence that would link him to the cold blooded murder of Salim.

"Hutson has failed to show any remorse for his fatal actions throughout.

"Thanks to the witnesses that came forward and spoke to the police. In the absence of any identification evidence placing Hutson at the scene of Salim's murder, the enquiry team painstakingly pieced together evidence across several lines of enquiry to build a strong circumstantial case sufficient to prove his guilt and convict Hutson accordingly.

"I hope today's sentencing will bring some measure of comfort and closure to Salim's family and underline the fact that as an organisation we will do everything within our powers to identify and prosecute dangerous offenders."