Three men found guilty of murdering innocent young mother who became caught up in bloody drugs turf war while celebrating her 24th birthday
Published 18/08/2014 | 16:51
Three men have been found guilty of murdering an innocent young mother who became caught up in a bloody drugs turf war during a night out celebrating her 24th birthday.
Nursery schoolteacher Sabrina Moss and her friend Sabrina Gachette were gunned down in the street by two hooded men armed with a machine gun and a shot gun.
Miss Moss was shot in the heart and died later in hospital. Miss Gachette was hit in the back by more than 50 gunshot pellets and was lucky to survive.
Jurors was told they were not the intended targets and were just in the wrong place in the wrong time, sheltering from the rain with a group of about 15 others outside a fast food restaurant in north west London.
Drug dealers Hassan Hussain, Yasin James and Martell Warren were convicted of Miss Moss's murder and the attempted murder of Miss Gachette after a 10-week trial at the Old Bailey.
The family of Miss Moss were in court throughout the trial in which Miss Gachette gave evidence.
Her mother wept as the verdicts were delievered. All men will be sentenced on September 12.
Jurors were told Miss Moss, who had recently moved into a new flat in Neasden with her partner and their four-year-old son, had taken the day of Friday August 23 off work to get ready for her birthday party, meeting friends at home.
That evening they went to the Love & Liquor nightclub in Kilburn High Road, north west London, and throughout the night others joined their group.
Meanwhile, Warren, Hussain and James planned the shooting carefully, carrying out surveillance on their targets before launching their attack an hour before dawn outside the Woody Grill.
Miss Gachette, 25, said: "There was no warning. I thought someone had thrown a brick at me. Then because of the explosion I thought it was a firework.
"Sabrina was in front of me and that was when I heard her say she had been shot in her heart. That is the last thing I remember hearing her say.
"You hear of stabbings, gangland murders - you don't expect people to do things like this when there are innocent people around.
"It's scary to think that you are just out minding your own business and someone can creep up behind you and do something like that. They didn't know you and you know for sure you don't know them."
The women were thrown together with the intended targets of the shooting - members of the South Kilburn Gang - because it was raining on the night of the shooting and they had taken shelter under a shop awning by the Woody Grill.
The gunmen - Hassan Hussain and Yasin James - could not have failed to spot the young women in their party clothes amid the rest of the group dressed in casual streetwear, the court heard.
Dressed in a bright red dress and high heels, Miss Moss would have stood out from the crowd like a beacon in the night, the Old Bailey was told.
Regardless, Hussain discharged the Mac 10 "spray and pray" machine gun six times and James fired both barrels of the shotgun at near point blank range before fleeing in a car driven by Warren.
Although the exact reason for the shooting was unclear, it was connected to a drug-dealing turf war and deep-seated animosity with members of the South Kilburn Gang.
Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said the attack took place against a "backdrop of violent tension and animosity" between the groups of young men.
"The reason for that is not clear but it was serious. It was deep-seated, so deep-seated that it was enough to occupy their activities for most of the darkness hours," he said
Hussain, 29, of Willesden; Warren, 23, from Kensal Green; and James, 20, from Wembley, were also found guilty two further counts of attempted murder - of Mahad Ahmed and Edson Da'Silva, possession of a Mac 10 machine gun with intent to endanger life, and possession of a shotgun with intent to endanger life.
And they were found guilty, along with a fourth defendant - Simon Baptiste, 29, from Cricklewood - of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm between August 22 and August 25 last year.
On the verdicts, Miss Gachette said: "Justice has not only been served for us as victims, it has been done for the community - there are violent people off the streets."
The court heard that Warren was a convicted drug dealer and member of the Kensal Green Boys or Bloods, known as the KGB.
There was heavy security in court when he gave evidence in the witness box and implicated Hussain and James in the shooting but denied his own involvement, saying he was just there to do a drug deal.
In turn, Hussain and James said Warren was a "dirty lying scumbag" who had only named them to protect the real killers.
Hussain had a history of violence, with a previous conviction for grievous bodily harm. He was jailed for five years for stabbing his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend six times.
James said in his evidence that he was affiliated to a different gang from Warren, the Wembley Forni Dons. Baptiste did not give evidence.
The jury was told that the Mac10 machine gun which killed Miss Moss had been used before in the West Midlands and in London in 2009, 2012, and January last year at the Poolcrest Snooker Club in Kilburn High Road.
Although there was no suggestion that Hussain carried out those shootings, police said the gang he was affiliated with had control of the gun.
The jury returned the verdicts after 25 hours and 15 minutes. The verdicts were unanimous for Hussain and James and majority for Warren and Baptiste.
Outside court, Miss Moss's parents Andrea and John thanked police for bringing their daughter's murderers to justice.
They said in a statement: "Sabrina was beautiful, loving, caring. She was a larger-than-life character, the fullness of which cannot be summarised in one statement. We miss everything about her.
"She was simply irreplaceable."
They added that Miss Moss was the innocent victim of a "senseless and callous crime".
"Our lives will forever be affected."
Miss Gachette said: "The past 12 months have been a living hell for myself and my family. The effect of this heinous crime is difficult to put into words."
She said the bank holiday she had once enjoyed was now "marred by this thoughtless, cowardly act of three men convicted today".
She added: "Today marks the beginning of the end of what has been a tiring and terribly traumatic 12 months.
"The physical, mental and emotional impact has been huge."
But she said she had found it in her heart to forgive the attackers.
There were ugly scenes outside court as relatives of the defendants loudly protested their innocence. They were led away by police officers before Miss Gachette and Miss Moss's family spoke.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Partridge said: "This was a callous act, committed by three individuals who were willing to fire a MAC 10 and a double barrelled shotgun indiscriminately at a group of people outside a busy restaurant.
"They waited until a large group of people were together and then fired at their victims. It is clear they wanted to injure, maim or even murder as many of those people as possible, without any consideration as to who was within that group.
"Both Sabrina Moss and Sabrina Gachette were the innocents caught up in something they had no knowledge of and no involvement in."
And London Chief Crown Prosecutor Baljit Ubhey said: "These defendants were targeting members of a rival gang and spent the hours leading up to the fatal shooting in surveillance of their targets. But when it came to firing shots, they didn't care who they hit."