UPDATED: Three sentenced in relation to the murder of Billy McCullagh in Brent
Three men have been jailed for an incident where their associate was shot and killed during a confrontation with a rival gang.
While none of Adel Yussuf, Issa Seed and Daniel Mensah fired the fatal shots that killed 27-year-old Billy McCullagh, they were found guilty of murder in August after it was proven in court that they joined McCullagh in a gunfight intending to visit serious violence on the opposition.
Today at the Central Criminal Court they were each jailed for a minimum of 29 years.
Detective Inspector Tom Williams from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command led the investigation and said: “This has been an extremely complex and distinctly unique investigation. At the centre of it is Billy McCullagh who was fatally wounded after being shot and left to die in the street by both his so-called friends and those who fired the shots.
“I am not here to judge his motivation for driving with Yussuf, Seed and Mensah into a rival gang area with the intention of engaging in violence – the sad fact is that a man has lost his life in horrific circumstances.
“However, it does serve as a stark reminder of the futility of those who engage in violence; the consequences can be devastating and the outcome of your actions often down to sheer chance. Billy McCullagh’s family have been left to deal with the devastating aftermath of his murder, knowing that his decision to go on a ride-out led to his own death.”
The court heard that on the evening of 15 July 2020, McCullagh, Yussuf, Seed and Mensah had gathered at a party in the St Raphael’s Estate in Brent. In the early hours of 16 July 2020, the four set out in a stolen Land Rover car with the intention of travelling to the nearby Stonebridge Estate and attacking members of a rival gang. They were in possession of at least two firearms.
At around 03:00hrs the occupants of the car located a large group of people who were gathered in the street around Windrush Road, NW10. Almost immediately, numerous firearms were discharged from both sides. In the chaos that ensued, McCullagh – who had got out of the car - was shot twice; Seed was also shot in the leg. The car left at speed leaving McCullagh to die in the street.
The three remaining members of the group drove back to St Raphael’s Estate where they immediately began attempts to cover their tracks. Another associate, Leeban Farah, was enlisted to take Seed to hospital so his leg injury could be treated; from there he travelled with another male to buy petrol and then returned where the stolen Land Rover had been abandoned in another area on the estate.
The car was set on fire in an attempt to destroy any evidence. However, police had been called to the area as a result of the fire and Farah was apprehended by officers as he tried to flee the scene. A subsequent forensic analysis of the burnt out car revealed four bullet holes in the chassis. While the car was being torched, Daniel Mensah contacted George Orji who took possession of one of the firearms used.
When officers attended an address that Orji was seen entering, they found two handguns, a silencer and a paintball gun, with some items in a Tesco bag. An analysis of the firearms found that two of the cartridges recovered at the scene of McCullagh’s murder had been fired from the weapons; however – none of the injuries sustained by him matched bullets from these guns.
Phone analysis from Seed, Mensah and Yussuf showed they and Billy McCullagh, were in the same venue and the four were in continual contact in the hours leading up to the ride-out to the Stonebridge Estate.
DI Williams added: “While these sentencings bring this aspect of the investigation to a close, it still leaves a significant part open. We have not identified the person or persons responsible for firing the shots that killed Billy McCullagh; we will continue to pursue lines of enquiry and will work tirelessly to find those responsible. I would appeal to anyone who can provide information to get in contact with officers; if you do not feel confident speaking to police then you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers. They do not ask for your identify and will not attempt to trace your call or email.”
Anyone with information that could assist police is asked to call [insert number]. You can contact Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111 or at crimestoppers.org
Details of those convicted following the conclusion of a trial at the Old Bailey on Monday, 15 August:
Adel Yussuf, 25 [31.01.97} Rainborough Close, NW10 was found guilty of murder, conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm [GBH] and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Issa Seed, 25 [20.08.96] of no fixed address was found guilty of murder, conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm [GBH] and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Daniel Mensah, 30 [17.08.91] of Chatsworth Road, NW2 was found guilty of murder, conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm [GBH] and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life
Leeban Farah – 26 (19.03.96) of Wideford Drive, Romford was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
George Orji, 31 [03.01.91] of NW10 was found guilty of possession of an imitation firearm with intent. He had previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm.
Orji will be sentenced on 30 September. Farah will be sentenced on 18 October.
A 30-year-old woman charged with possession of a prohibited firearm was found not guilty.