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Friday, July 24, 1998 Published at 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK


Police hunt Yardie-style killers

Three killings and a stabbing: Police appealing for help

The search continues for a possible Yardie gang responsible for three murders and other attacks in London as police warn the killers will strike again "sooner rather than later".

BBC Radio 5 Live's Chris Ledgard gauges the response to the killings in Brixton
Officers investigating the Yardie-style killings are appealing for help in tracking down the men who have murdered two mothers and a 34-year-old man in just over a month.

Police have so far refused to confirm any links with Yardies, although one theory is that the killings were warnings to the victims' partners.

[ image: Appeal: Posters all over London]
Appeal: Posters all over London
The attacks have also been linked to a stabbing of a man and the rape of his partner in June.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jeff Rees said: "Unless we are able to catch these men there will be another murder - sooner rather than later.

"We are disappointed with the response we have received from the public to date.

"We do understand that members of the public will have fears about coming forward, but unless people do come forward, then they may well have another murder on their conscience.

"It is time for people to stand up and be counted. Our task would be made a lot easier and the offenders brought to book more quickly with further assistance."

All the victims are black and the gang is thought to comprise three or four black men.

[ image: Police: Response from public slow]
Police: Response from public slow
They first struck on 15 June in Clapham, south London, when they forced their way into a flat, brandishing a gun and a knife.

After stabbing a man and raping his partner, they escaped with jewellery and other belongings.

Only 10 days later Avril Johnson, 34, was tied up and shot in the head in her home in Brixton, south London, as her two young daughters and partner watched.

The second murder came when in Stratford, east London, on June 29 when they tied up Michelle Carby, 30 and shot her twice in the head as her children slept in the flat.

Patrick Ferguson became the latest victim when three men broke into his home in Kingsbury north London.

Police believe Mr Ferguson struggled with the men before they shot him as close range.

Lee Jasper, a member of Lambeth police consultative committee, which covers the Brixton area, appealed for people to come forward with information.

He said: "This level of callousness is not acceptable to the black community.

"We are witnessing a terror campaign."

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