Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 17:12 UK

How lovestruck boy was lured to his death

By Chris Summers
BBC News

A teenage girl will serve at least 10 years in prison after being convicted of murdering a 16-year-old boy she had lured into a "honey trap".

Shakilus Townsend would still be alive today if it had not been for a teenage temptress who toyed with his emotions and then betrayed him.

Screen grab from Bebo
Shakilus was mourned on the Bebo website

The 16-year-old became infatuated with Samantha Joseph and it would be his downfall.

Joseph, who was 15 at the time, already had a boyfriend, 18-year-old Danny McLean, but that did not stop her flirting with Shakilus and making him believe she was his girlfriend.

In court she insisted she had never had sex with Shakilus, or even kissed him, but admitted she was "cheating" on McLean with the younger boy.

Joseph admitted under cross-examination she had been bored with McLean, who just used her for sex and never took her out or bought her presents, whereas Shakilus showered her with attention and offered to buy her gifts, including a dog.

When McLean found out, he was furious and wanted to dump her. But she persuaded him she loved him and offered to lure Shakilus into a "honey trap".

Giving evidence Joseph even claimed that shortly before he was killed Shakilus had warned her McLean had been in contact with him and wanted to set her up so that she would get beaten up.

She had told a friend: "Either I get the beats, or he gets the beats."

Shakilus Townsend
He was crying for his mother and he was frightened, telling those around him he did not want to die
Brian Altman QC

As they travelled on a bus together, through south London, Joseph chatted on her mobile phone to her friend, who was known by some as her cousin although they were not related.

Shakilus, who was often known as Shak or Shaki, could only hear half of the conversation.

At one point her friend asked her: "Are you getting Shak set?"

She replied: "Yes".

Then the friend overheard Shakilus, perhaps becoming suspicious, asking Joseph: "I hope you and your cousin aren't getting me set."

She replied: "Do you really think I'd do that?"

A few minutes later they got off the bus in Thornton Heath and he was ambushed by McLean and his friends, members of the local Shine My Nine (SMN) gang.

It is thought up to a dozen youths were involved in the attack on Shakilus.

He was punched, kicked, beaten about the head with a baseball bat and stabbed several times.

'Crying for his mother'

Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: "He was struggling to breathe and when others went to his aid, Shakilus fell into unconsciousness. Just before doing so he was crying for his mother and he was frightened, telling those around him he did not want to die."

Shakilus and Joseph on the bus
Joseph texts on her phone as she lures Shakilus to his death

But he had suffered a mortal injury to his liver, inflicted almost certainly by McLean.

Joseph would later claim to police she had left Shakilus at the bus stop but an eyewitness reported seeing her, wearing a distinctive orange flowery dress, with the gang shortly after the attack. The SMN gang were known to wear orange bandannas and clothing.

In the melee McLean had been hit on the head by a baseball bat wielded by one of his friends.

Joseph agreed to go along with a false story he concocted - that he had been injured after being attacked by another gang, known as Don't Say Nothing (DSN), at exactly the same time as Shakilus was killed.

He said he was really in love with this girl, that she was to be his future wife and that she was going to have his kids
Nicola Dyer

Shakilus had paid the ultimate price for falling in love with the wrong girl.

His mother, Nicola Dyer, told detectives he had been "smitten" with the girl and said she was his "future wife".

She said he had "always had girlfriends" but for the last six weeks of his life he had been talking only about this girl.


"He said he was really in love with this girl, that she was to be his future wife and that she was going to have his kids - he was really smitten with her.

"Shaki showed me pictures on his mobile phone and I remember thinking she really is pretty and nice to look at," she said.

McLean and five other youths were also convicted of murder on Wednesday. Ms Dyer wept as the guilty verdicts were read out.

Samantha Joseph
Joseph claimed she was unaware Shakilus might be killed

Shakilus hailed from New Cross in south east London, while Thornton Heath was the home territory of McLean and the SMN, whose name referred to a 9mm gun.

The court heard Shakilus had a Bebo account, under which he was known as Bugz, and on it were pages of him posing with knives.

But Joseph told the court he was not violent and it was quite common for youths to posture and brag on their Bebo pages.

After he was killed, several of Shakilus's friends posted threatening and obscene messages on Bebo.

One said: "Remember u set up Shak you bitch. And he loved Yoooh."

The girl told the court she was aware of these threats and was scared of retaliation by friends of Shakilus.

Joseph now faces at least 10 years in prison and will have plenty of time to mull over the part she played in the death of an innocent boy.


1. Townsend and Samantha Joseph board a 450 bus heading towards Thornton Heath in Spa Hill at 1317 BST.

2. Members of the gang get on a northbound bus at Northwood Road at 1328 BST. One of them has a long thin bag on his back which probably contained a baseball bat.

3. Townsend's mother calls at 1336 BST and speaks to him on the bus. Moments later he gets off the bus with Joseph and is spotted by the gang.
4. Joseph leads Townsend into a cul-de-sac where he is attacked by the gang which is armed with knives and baseball bats. Neighbour who tries to stop the attack calls 999 at 1343BST.

5. Joseph and McLean are seen together in a Costcutter shop in Norbury Road at 1344 BST. He is holding an orange bandanna to his head where he was accidentally injured during the melee by one of the other defendants hitting him with the baseball bat.

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