BY YANN TEAR
The mother of a teenager slain by two gang members says she is haunted by the thought of the pain he must have suffered in his final moments.
Abdul Mayanja was 19 when he was fatally shot in the chest two years ago, and 24-year-old Sean Obazee, of North Pole Road, north Kensington, is one of two men convicted at the Old Bailey of the murder and given a life sentence.
Obazee and accomplice Braeden Henry, 25, of Evelyn Road, north Woolwich, were known gang members or associates of gang members who, on the evening of August 25, 2017 set out with murderous intent and fatally wounded Mr Mayanja.
On the night of the murder, the teenager had attended a barbecue in the Newham area before driving friends home.
At around 10.40pm, CCTV captured a Qashqai car travelling in Waddington Road towards Well Street.
Two of the occupants, later identified as Obazee and Henry, left the vehicle and walked as a driver remained in the Qashqai, travelling at crawling pace alongside them.
The victim was approached by the gunmen while he was sitting on a wall talking to a girl.
He was asked what area he was from, but before he even had a chance to answer, he was shot once and left for dead in the street as the suspects got back into the Qashqai and fled.
Police were called and attended immediately, along with specialist firearms colleagues and the London Ambulance Service. Mr Mayanja was taken to an east London hospital, where he died from his injuries at 12.30am on August 26.
A post-mortem examination held at East Ham mortuary found the cause of death to be a gunshot wound to the chest.
Following the murder, efforts were made to destroy evidence that could incriminate the pair.
The Qashqai used during the shooting was discovered burnt out in a street in Newham.
Detectives from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command began a relentless investigation, identifying the suspects through CCTV, GPS records and mobile phone enquiries.
Henry and Obazee were arrested in September 2017 and subsequently charged in November 2018.
Mr Mayanja’s mother said in a tribute to her son: “Abdul’s loss created a massive hole in the family, as he was not only a son but a brother and a friend to those around him.
“He was a role model to those he associated with. Abdul was very helpful and understanding.
He always wore a smile on his face. He is sorely missed by everyone that knew him.
“Abdul was a much-loved son. He conducted himself in a grown-up manner, we were able to discuss anything. I always had so much pride in everything he said and did.
“I miss my dearest Abdul. I am left with a virtual sense of his existence. I will never forget the pain and disappointment he must have endured in his last moments.
I don’t understand why anyone would want to harm him and that for us as parents will haunt us for a lifetime.”
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Considine, of the Serious Crime Command, said: “A 19-year-old man lost his life in the most brutal of circumstances, leaving his family grieving for the loss of a young life taken far, far too soon.
“Abdul was not a gang member, in fact he was a good boy with a bright future. He was shot by gang members trying to settle a score in a rival area. They were indiscriminate in who they targeted.
“The actions of Obazee and Henry on that night were beyond callous – Abdul was outnumbered and ambushed and frankly did not stand a chance.
“Because of the level of criminality involved and the awareness the defendants have around police tactics, it has taken some time to accrue the necessary evidence against them.
I would like to pay tribute to Abdul’s family who have been incredibly dignified, supportive and patient throughout the investigation, and I hope that today’s convictions allow them to move on.”
On Friday, Obazee was sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum term of 30 years.
Henry was sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 31 years.
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