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Thursday, November 18, 1999 Published at 16:46 GMT


UK

Children 'saw mother murdered'

Victims Avril Johnson (left) and Michelle Carby

A disc jockey was tied up and shot through the head while her children were in the same room, a jury at the Old Bailey has been told.

The court heard how three men, armed with a gun and knife, tricked their way into the south London home of Avril Johnson, 30, and her husband Kirk.

Mrs Johnson, the sister of the reggae star Tippa Irie and known as Miss Irie, died within hours.

Her children, aged seven and 18 months, were on a bed next to her.

Mr Johnson escaped by "playing dead" even though his throat had been cut, the court was told.

A bullet meant for him had missed and hit a wall.


[ image: Patrick Ferguson was shot at close range]
Patrick Ferguson was shot at close range
Two men are charged with the murder of three people during what was allegedly a month-long crime spree.

Hyrone Hart, 28, and Kurt Roberts, 19, both from Birmingham, are accused of shooting dead two women and a man in separate shootings in London in 1998.

The men, both of no fixed address, deny the murder charges.

They have also pleaded not guilty to two charges of attempted murder, firearms offences, and robbery. Kurt Roberts also denies one charge of rape.

Mr Andrew Munday, QC, prosecuting, told the jury on Thursday that the attack on Avril Johnson took place on 25 June 1988.

'Children found body'

Four days later, said Mr Munday, another mother was killed in her home, this time in Stratford, in east London.

Michelle Carby, 35, was tied up and shot through the head twice.

Her children, aged 12, nine and three, found their mother's body.

Mr Munday said: "The first thing neighbours knew of anything untoward were seeing the very distressing sight of three children who had discovered their mother's body in the living room, shot to the head."

The third murder victim, plasterer Patrick Ferguson, was shot in the face at his home in Kingsbury, in north London, on 15 July.

Stabbing and rape

He was gunned down in full view of his partner and their young children when he answered the front door.

The Old Bailey jury also heard the prosecution allege that on 15 June the defendants went to a flat in Clapham, in south London, where they stabbed the occupant.

This caused one of his lungs to collapse.

Mr Munday said following police inquiries, Kurt Roberts was arrested in Chingford, east London, and Hyrone Hart at an address in Handsworth, Birmingham, in early August.

Both, he said, had been using different names.

The prosecution claims forensic evidence, recovered items of jewellery and calls made from mobile phones, linked the men to the crimes.

The case continues.



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