Gang leader jailed over mistaken identity murder

Tuesday 14th January 2020 16:50 EST

Three gangsters, including a 21-year-old from Wanstead, who gunned down a young man in a case of mistaken identity were branded "selfish, cruel and stupid" as they were locked up for life.

Joseph Williams-Torres, 20, was shot dead by the members of the Mali Boys as he sat with a friend in a van in Walthamstow in March 2018. The killers had been out to avenge the murder of one of their own, 17-year-old Elijah Dornelly, in May 2017 but got the wrong man. 

The intended target was said to bear an "uncanny resemblance" to the victim and even wore an identical beanie hat to Mr Williams-Torres, who lived locally.

Following a trial last year, Hamza Ul Haq, 21, pictured, Loic Nengese, 19, and a 16-year-old were found guilty of murder. Prosecutor Allison Hunter QC said the Mali Boys had been involved in a bloody turf war with the Higham Hill or Priory Court gang as they tried to "assert their supremacy and control" of the area.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC jailed group leader Ul Haq for life with a minimum term of 28 years for the murder and seven years for attempted aggravated burglary, to run concurrently. Nengese was locked up for a minimum of 21 years and the 16-year-old youth, who had apologised to the victim's family, was locked up for at least 18 years. Russell, was jailed for 16 years, having pleaded guilty to possession of a gun with intent to endanger life and attempted aggravated burglary with Ul Haq.

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