Four men have been sentenced for the killing of Kwasi Mensah-Ababio, who was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity in the summer of 2019.
[A] Alhassan Jalloh, 21 (09.08.98) of Stonebridge Park, NW10, [B] Karlos Garcia 23 (24.11.96) of Stonebridge Park, NW10 and [D] Rene Montaque, 35 [31.12.84] of Edgware were all convicted of murder after a trial at the Old Bailey
[C] Taalib Rowe 25 (07.10.94) of Luton was convicted of manslaughter.
All were sentenced at the same court on Friday, 13 November as follows:
Rene Montaque - Life with a minimum term of 30 years
Alhassan Jalloh - Life with a minimum term of 25 years and six months
Karlos Gracia – Life with a minimum term of 26 years
Taalib Rowe - 17 years with two thirds to be served before release on licence
Police were called at 19:05hrs on Sunday, 7 July 2019 by London Ambulance Service (LAS) to Monks Park, Wembley [close to Monks Park Gardens] to a report of a man found unresponsive in nearby parkland.
Officers and LAS attended and found Kwasi suffering from gunshot wounds to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as a gunshot wound to the head.
A murder investigation was launched by homicide detectives from Specialist Crime North (homicide).
The investigation found that Montaque was seeking vengeance at the time of the shooting for the murder of his close friend Craig Smalls, allegedly by a rival gang, just two days previously*.
The four defendants were seen on CCTV to enter the park where Kwasi was sitting on a bench drinking a soft drink. Mistakenly believing him to be someone they thought was responsible for the death of Craig Smalls, they shot him, point blank, in the head.
Detective Sergeant Brian Jones said: “This was a shocking case and Kwasi’s untimely and violent death was the result of the defendants’ appetite for vengeance.
“It has caused devastation to a family and although nothing can bring Kwasi back, I sincerely hope that his family feel that justice has been done.
“Our team, like all homicide teams across the Met, work relentlessly to identify suspects and bring them to justice, and this case was no exception.”
In a family impact statement to the court in March, Kwasi’s sister said: “Kwasi was a boss, he was hard-working and always willing to help whether it be helping me with big brother things like killing spiders in my room or being the voice of reason in our household. He was wildly intelligent and he taught me so much about being humble and gracious always. He was naturally sweet natured and sympathetic but he was also protective of his family. He was 26 at the time of his death and he had so much success to look forward to. Kwasi was never involved in gangs or crime at all and not one person in this world could have predicted the amount of violence that would be carried out towards him on 7 July 2019.
“No amount of time is going to stop the pain that we had to endure throughout this period, no amount of time is going to rid the guilt that we all feel individually for various things on that day even though it wasn’t our fault. My right hand is no longer here, my children will never have immediate cousins, my children will only know pictures of their uncle, my parents will never see their only son grow up to have a family and these are things that will never hurt any less.”
*Two males were charged with the murder of Craig Smalls who was shot dead at Harrow Road, HA9 at 20:10hrs on Friday, 5 July – this case is due for trial in February 2022.