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The BBC's Paul Currie
"The violence erupted after a row over parking"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 22 February, 2000, 15:16 GMT
Four jailed for Yardie gang murder

A Yardie gang member
Yardie gangs from Jamaica operate in the UK

Four men have been jailed for life at the Old Bailey for their part in a Yardie turf war murder at a London sports centre.

The four killers were members of a gang known as the Lock City Crew.

They had launched a revenge attack to defend their "territory" against a rival gang from Brixton.

The scene that followed was more reminiscent of the Wild West than north London on a Saturday afternoon
Prosecutor Richard Horwell
The shooting, at the Bridge Park leisure centre, north west London, left 29-year-old Dion Holmes dying from a bullet wound through his heart.

The four killers - Winston "Escobar" Harris, 38, and Stephen "Beamer" Murray, 26, both from Kensal Green, Jermaine "My Lord" Hamilton, 22, from Kilburn and Leonard Cole, 27, from Finsbury Park, all north London - had all denied murdering Mr Holmes on 1 May last year.

A fifth man, David Lewis, 49, from Wembley, was cleared of murder, manslaughter and a firearms offence and was freed.

He had denied the offences.

'Mission of revenge and retribution'

The gang had turned the centre, near Wembley stadium, into their headquarters, keeping arms, ammunition and drugs there.

The four men are all Jamaican and had stayed in Britain longer than they were allowed either before the murder or since their arrest.

Judge Peter Beaumont made no recommendations for their deportation at the end of their sentence.

He said he was "quite satisfied" all factors determining their future status in the UK would be considered by the Home Secretary at the time "without any assistance from me."

At the start of the month-long trial Richard Horwell, prosecuting, said: "Even in these days of seemingly increasing violence, the circumstances of Mr Holmes's death were remarkable.

"He was shot by one of the armed gang who descended on the sports complex on a mission of revenge and retribution.

'Lack of respect'

"Their desire for revenge was based on what appears to be, of all things, a parking incident earlier that day."

The gang had at their disposal a variety of weapons from handguns to a sawn-off pump action shotgun, said Mr Horwell.

They believed, after the parking incident outside the complex, that the other group had shown "a certain lack of respect to them and their territory".

They picked up a sports bag containing the firearms and went to the centre.

"The scene that followed was more reminiscent of the Wild West than north London on a Saturday afternoon," said Mr Horwell.

One of the gang locked the doors preventing people from leaving and shots were fired both from the sawn-off shotgun and a handgun, he added.

Asked to park properly

Mr Horwell said the earlier parking incident involved a woman parking outside the entrance of the complex, not in a parking bay.

When she was asked to park properly, an argument followed.

The woman later returned with her husband and abuse and insults were thrown before they left.

When some members of the Lock City Crew arrived at the complex and discovered what had happened "on their territory, they became excitable".

Gerry Davis, Director of Community Development at Brent Council said after the case that immediate action had been taken "to ensure the safety of staff and the public".

This included 100,000 to increase security at Bridge Park.

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20 Jun 99 |  UK
Who are the Yardies?

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