Nineteen years ago today, just after 12.15am on 7 December 2003, 21-year-old music producer Leon Forbes was on his way to proudly play his new CD to a friend when he was shot and fatally wounded in his mother’s car in a car park near his home in Clapham.
He was rushed to hospital but he sadly died from his injuries later that morning.
Detective Chief Inspector Amanda Greig, from the Met’s Specialist Casework Team, said: “Leon’s family have desperately waited for justice for almost 20 years. You now have the opportunity to give them that. Maybe you were reluctant to come forward at the time for a number of reasons, but allegiances and circumstances might have changed over the last 19 years and you may feel differently about speaking to us now. Please know, that any information you give us will be treated with absolute confidence. If you would like to ensure you remain completely anonymous, please contact the independent charity CrimeStoppers.
“Leon was only 21 years old when he was brutally murdered and he had his whole life ahead of him. He was an up and coming music producer and his career was going from strength to strength, he was renting a music studio in north London and his band reached the finals of the Mobo Unsung awards. He was the proud father of a little girl and he could not wait to meet his second child – but sadly that opportunity was snatched away from him.
“His heartbroken mother Michelle, a former probation officer, was the vice president and co-founder of ‘Mothers against Guns’ and campaigned tirelessly for the Government to impose tougher sentences on gun crimes. She sadly died last year and will not see her son’s killer brought to justice, but you can still give Leon’s family the answers they have patiently waited for by doing the right thing and speaking to us today.”
Leon’s sister Erica, said: “Although it was 19 years ago that Leon was taken from us, I remember it like yesterday. My memories are so vivid from that night – the smells, the sounds, the terror, the fear of that night when gunmen decided to come and take my brother’s life, leaving him to be found by his mother.
“The one thing I cannot get over is the constant memory of my mother and I, taking it in turns trying to give my brother CPR and willing him to breathe.
“On the 7 December 2003 our lives changed forever and I know it will NEVER go back to how it was. My mother has now since passed and never got to fulfil her promise to Leon, to see those responsible brought to justice. This is often very painful and heartbreaking. I now have to fulfil that promise to her and Leon, I will continue to seek justice and one day face those responsible in court and ask them – WHY?
“Leon was young, ambitious, confident and outgoing. He loved his family and friends and most people that met Leon, even for the first time, loved him.
“As a family we appealing to those who may know who is responsible, any information you have, to come forward and speak the truth. Some of you may even have children the same age Leon was at the time of his murder- 21 years old.
“Leon would have been 41 on 20 December, but for us as a family he will always be 21 as time has stopped since that day in 2003. We have waited too long and we need justice to have some closure.”
On 6 December 2003, Leon called his friend and asked him to call at his home in Daley Thompson Way to listen to a new CD he has put together. His friend arrived at about 00:15 and they both got into Leon’s mum’s car, a black Vauxhall Astra.
Leon started pulling out of the parking space when his phone rang. He quickly terminated the call and began to exit the car park. Near the exit, a second car was stationary with its headlights on and a man was stood in front of it.
As they drove by, shots were fired into the rear of Leon’s mum’s car, hitting Leon. Leon slumped over the steering wheel and the car collided with nearby vehicles.
Witnesses reported seeing two vehicles, a red car and a silver car, leaving the car park at speed shortly after the incident. One was described as a ‘new shape’ silver Saab.
Leon’s friend darted from the scene back to Daley Thompson Way where he alerted Leon’s mother. Leon’s family and his friend rushed back to the scene and pulled Leon from the car, giving him first aid until the emergency services arrived.
He was sadly pronounced dead at 09:20 on 7 December 2003 as a result of a gunshot wound to his neck.
Five people were arrested in connection with Leon’s murder in 2003 and 2004, but all were subsequently released with no further action being taken.