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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 18:19 GMT 19:19 UK
City 'plagued by gangs and guns'
by Eric Simpson
BBC News, Nottingham

Danielle Beccan
Danielle was shot on the way home from Goose Fair
A bitter feud involving rival gang areas in Nottingham - St Ann's and The Meadows - led to the shooting of Danielle Beccan.

Evidence from defendant Junior Andrews gave a clear description of a culture of guns, drugs and gangs in the city.

Andrews took off his shirt at one point to show the jury his gang tattoos.

The 24-year-old also revealed he owned body armour which he bought after he and friends were shot at in a kebab shop on one occasion.

Born in Northampton to an Afro-Caribbean father and white mother, Andrews lived in St Ann's until he was 13 before moving to The Meadows.

'Hard life'

His father left and his mother moved to Aberdeen with his younger brother because of crime in Nottingham, the court heard.

Painting a picture of his background, he told his barrister, Orlando Pownall, he was a fan of the US rapper Tupac and had the same tattoo on his arms as his idol had on his stomach - "Thug Life".

Everyone knows that there's gang warfare going on in Nottingham and we're just reflecting it
Junior Andrews

Asked what it meant, he said: "It means hard time, hard life.

"I've had a hard time, hard life."

Removing his white shirt in the witness box, he showed jurors a tattoo "NG2" on his neck, which is the postcode for The Meadows.

On his right upper arm, he has a revolver and the initials "WFG", standing for "The Waterfront Gang".

Asked to explain the lyrics of music he was seen rapping on a video, including the phrases, "my Water killers, my NG2 killers" and "going to St Ann's on a little creep, looking for my enemies", he insisted it was not "for real".

He told the court: "It's just music at the end of the day. That's what music is... A big part of the music from America is based on gang warfare.

"Everyone knows that there's gang warfare going on in Nottingham and we're just reflecting it."

'War zone'

Andrews told the jury that one of his friends had been shot in the leg and that another had been left crippled by a beating, thought to have been carried out by people from St Ann's.

But he said: "I don't hate everybody from St Ann's. I know people I used to go to school together - we do business together."

Mr Pownall asked: "What sort of business?"

Andrews replied: "Drugs."

BBC News interviewed some people in the two communities of St Ann's and The Meadows and one said: "It is like the Wild West... it is a war zone."

Speaking about people from St Ann's, one Meadows teenager said: "They are like aliens to me. It is massive, because of all the hate and guns that happen."

Another youth said: "It is big to be a gunman - put a real gun in a 13 or 14-year-old's hands - it is like a magnet.

"The majority of young people I know have access to a gun - if they have a 'beef' the first thing they do is shoot."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Gang members describe life on Nottingham's streets



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