Seven people have been convicted over the death of a teenager in an apparent revenge attack for the attempted murder of another man two months earlier.
Mohammed Usman Mirza, 19, died after he was attacked with a knife in an alleyway in the Clayhall area of Redbridge in November 2019.
He had been driven to a block of garages in Hurstleigh Gardens where he realised he was being ambushed after a second car entered. Usman tried to run but he was caught by his attackers and stabbed, collapsing in Fullwell Avenue.
Neighbours told police they heard Usman shouting for help at around 10.20pm on November 19 and said they saw his attackers flee in multiple directions.
Police found Usman unresponsive suffering from stab wounds including to his neck. Paramedics and an air ambulance also attended but Usman was pronounced dead at 10.53pm.
Detectives were informed almost immediately about a red Peugeot on fire in Hurstleigh Gardens. This was the car Usman had been driven in. The second car – a Chevrolet Captiva – was also later found burnt out.
Both vehicles had been stolen in the run-up to the attack on Usman and analysis of CCTV footage showed both vehicles had been spotted in the Hurstleigh Gardens area on numerous occasions.
Police later found out about two more getaway vehicles – a Ford Eco Sport and Vauxhall Mocca – both had been stolen from the same address in Chigwell. A fifth car – a black Volkswagen Polo – was identified as another getaway vehicle.
Detectives were able to identify suspects – all from the Ilford area – through forensic and mobile evidence captured from the vehicles involved.
Police say DNA belonging to Shariq Khan, 21, of Percy Road was found in the Chevrolet. The Met says Khan also drove Usman to the garages.
The DNA of London Beqa, 20, of Windsor Road was also found in the Chevrolet, while clothing found in the car was matched to Khan as well as Jonathan Makengo, 25, of Francis Way and 18-year-old Omari Thompson of Northbrook Road.
Thompson and Tyler Moore, 21, of Lawson Close were found by police to have been in the Ford Eco Sport. Moore was later stopped by police in the Mokka the day after the murder. He was with Hassan Riaz, 22, of Hampton Road. A petrol can found in the boot of the Mokka had Khan’s DNA on it.
Beqa was seen using the Polo to buy three cans of petrol which were then given to Riaz. The Polo is also believed to have been used to help Khan and Riaz leave the murder scene.
Phone data showed a final convicted defendant – Moeez Bangash, 26, of Gaysham Avenue – organised for the group to meet in Swiss Cottage in north London after carrying out the murder.
Makengo used yet another stolen car – a black Ford Kuga – to get to this meeting, taking Bangash, Moore and Thompson with him.
Khan, Moore, Thompson and Riaz were said by police to be the ones who chased Usman before he was stabbed.
In October last year, Khan, Riaz, and Beqa were all found guilty of Usman’s murder and sentenced to a minimum of 25, 24, and 14 years in prison respectively. Thompson was jailed for a minimum of 15 years.
At a trial that concluded this month, Moore was also found guilty of murder, while Bangash and Makengo were found guilty of manslaughter.
They will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on September 16.
Detective chief inspector Kelly Allen said the attack on Usman was “carefully planned” and they believed he was responsible for orchestrating an attack on their friend.
Acknowledging the importance of CCTV and mobile phone data in this investigation, DCI Allen added: “This was a sophisticated plan that was clearly some days in the making.
“They ensured they had enough stolen vehicles to help them carry out the attack and then attempted to cover their tracks. There is no doubt this was a pre-meditated attack.
“Thanks to the bravery of witnesses to come forward and report what they saw and heard, detectives were able to track them down and piece together the events surrounding Usman’s death and bring his killers to justice.”
The officer also paid tribute to Usman’s family recognising they have had to sit through two trials.
Usman’s father, Imran Mirza, said: “We will never get over the murder of our son Usman and we miss him every single day. This has been a very long process with two trials but we are pleased that justice has now been served.”