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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 October 2007, 20:06 GMT 21:06 UK
Concern after London fatal shooting
By Mario Cacciottolo
BBC News

Jason Simbwa (left) and Dwayne Daws
Jason Simbwa and Dwayne Daws live in the New Cross area
Many of the early evening commuters piling out of London's New Cross Gate station are probably unaware that a woman was shot in their community only the night before.

They calmly weave their way down the busy New Cross Road, bathed in pale autumnal sunshine, alongside the noisy traffic thundering up and down.

A row of small, established shops sits opposite a vast sprawling commercial park, where household names like Sainsbury's and Currys do business.

People walk, talk on corners into their mobiles, wait for buses. The mood is far from tense.

At the roadside is Veronica, a 32-year-old Spaniard pushing her baby girl.

She declines to give her surname but does stop to express her surprise at the news that Magda Pniewska, a 26-year-old care worker, died after being shot in New Cross early evening on Tuesday.

This could happen anywhere in London at the moment, it's not just New Cross
Jason Simbwa

It is believed she was caught in the cross-fire between two gunmen, possibly because of an argument over drugs.

Veronica, who lives in New Cross Gate, looks visibly shocked to hear the news.

"I'm surprised, because I think this is a safe area," she said.

"In some areas of London you shouldn't go out at night, and I don't. I go out in the afternoon because I have a baby.

"But I'm surprised this happened when it did, in the afternoon."

And she says she will view the area somewhat differently in the light of the incident.

Take a right turn off New Cross Road, however, and the difference is instant.

The noise and bustle vanishes in moments, and rows of uniform, beige-brick houses stretch away into the distance.

Some are tired-looking, but plenty are seemingly well kept.

A police sign
Police signs are already up in the area regarding other shootings

Here it is so quiet that footsteps echo loudly, and only the odd person walks about. A couple of times a normal-looking saloon car glides past with R&B music blaring out loudly.

An older, tatty vehicle with faded paintwork also passes by, its windows incongruously blacked out.

On one street walks Dwayne Daws, 25 and his friend Jason Simbwa, 28, who both live in the New Cross area.

Mr Daws points out a large yellow police sign chained to a lamppost, appealing for information about shots being fired at a building in nearby Camplin Street in September.

"That's three shootings now in the last two months, with this latest one," he said. "There was another one around the corner from here.

"I've lived in this area for most of my life, I walk around it all day long, and I feel safe.

"The area's good - we don't get trouble here. But it's the people that are new, who have moved in and who bring their friends into the area that are causing problems.

"I do feel safe but it could have been me - I walked past the place just after it happened, and my mum walks my dog at the field nearby."

Neighbour concerns

Mr Simbwa does not seem overly concerned at the shootings, despite the recent fatal incident.

"I feel safe walking around. This could happen anywhere in London at the moment, it's not just New Cross."

A couple of minutes away is John Williams Close, where Ms Pniewska was shot, now the place where a police officer waits and blue tape is stretched across a pathway.

In a cul-de-sac opposite is Joanne Kalacas, 26, who lives there with her seven-year-old daughter and husband.

She too is unaware of what exactly has happened just yards from her front door, although both she and her daughter were curious as to why the police were there on Wednesday.

"I walk past there almost every morning," she said. "My daughter is often over that way, she visits her friend in the next block.

"I might not let her play out for a while, but I can't stop her forever.

"There isn't any CCTV around here, and it would be useful because the way the buildings are mean it's easy to hide.

"I've never heard of drugs being an issue around here, never heard people talking about it.

"This is the third shooting incident I've heard about around here. I am a bit worried now."

Footage of the murder scene

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