Gabriel Bringye death
The family of a driver lured to his death by robbers has called for “change in the gig economy” as his killers were brought to justice.
Gabriel Bringye, 37, who worked for vehicle hire firm Bolt, was fatally stabbed after he responded to a fake fare in Tottenham, north London, on February 17 last year.
Following an Old Bailey trial, a 19-year-old, of Golders Green, north London, and an 18-year-old from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, were cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.
Two boys aged 16 and a 17-year-old youth were cleared over the killing.
Since his death, Mr Bringye’s family have launched a safety campaign in his name aimed at protecting drivers and couriers.
In a joint statement, his sister Renata Bringye and fiancee Mara Fazecas said: “The criminal trial has been a traumatic ordeal and we are glad it is finally over, but there is no justice for Gabriel without wider change in the gig economy.
“Gabriel was a loving partner, loyal brother, devoted uncle and dear friend to many. What has been taken from us can never be returned, never be made right.
“But what we can and must do is make sure everything that can be done, will be done to save lives like Gabriel’s in future.
“Corporations like Bolt who make billions on the backs of precarious workers, need to show some humanity, respect their basic rights and take more responsibility for the safety of customers and drivers alike.
“That’s what Gabriel’s Campaign for Driver Safety is all about.”
The family and their campaign are being supported by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB).
General secretary Henry Chango-Lopez said: “Every member of our union stands in solidarity today with Gabriel’s family who are campaigning courageously for positive change in his name.
“Gabriel’s death affected drivers deeply because of this sense that ‘it could have been anyone of us.’
“Two thirds of IWGB drivers and couriers working in the gig economy have been physically attacked simply doing their jobs and these are the workers hailed as heroes for getting Britain through the pandemic.
“We must all speak up against this gig economy model of all profit and no accountability before one more life is lost.
“As a first step we call on Bolt to sit down at the table with us to hear the family’s concerns.”
A Bolt spokesperson said: “This was a shocking incident and a senseless tragedy, and we offer our condolences to Gabriel’s family and friends.
“Bolt drivers need to feel respected and safe whilst driving on our platform and we are constantly assessing and improving the safety protection available.
“Our in-app SOS button can be deployed by drivers immediately and connects directly to the emergency services and Bolt’s safety team, and in the past year we have introduced new welfare checks on static vehicles and 24/7 driver support both in-app and on the phone.
“We have also significantly increased the size of our safety team who focus on removing passengers with consistently poor driver feedback from our platform.”
During the trial, jurors had heard that Mr Bringye’s death had followed a series of robberies last January and February.
On the day of the killing, the defendants went to Hendon in north London where they stole a mobile phone.
They then used it to order a car to return to Tottenham and summon their victim.
Prosecutor Philip Evans QC had said: “Gabriel Bringye was doing no more than earning a living, working as a private hire cab driver.
“He was working for the company Bolt which operates much like Uber.
“Mr Bringye received a notification of a booking and made his way to collect passengers from a pick-up point in the Tottenham area.
“When he arrived, he was met not by a fare but by this group of defendants who, instead of wanting a taxi, were in fact intent on robbing him of his car and other possessions.
“So intent were they on robbery, that Mr Bringye was stabbed and the injury that he received was so severe that he died of that injury minutes later at the scene where the robbery took place.”
The killing was not “by chance” but a consequence of a plan to rob a cab driver, it was claimed.
Mr Evans said: “Mr Bringye was tragically unlucky that it was him who received the booking that day.”
The two adult defendants and two of the youths aged 16, had previously admitted conspiracy to steal.
All the defendants were convicted of conspiracy to rob.
The 18-year-old and one of the 16-year-olds had admitted having a knife on the London Underground.
Judge Angela Rafferty QC adjourned sentencing until May 3 and remanded the defendants into custody.