Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 17:52 UK

Youth jailed for Christmas murder

Nathan Harris
Nathan Harris had a "violent tendency", police said after the sentencing

A 16-year-old convicted of murdering a man in London on Christmas Eve 2008 has been jailed for life at the Old Bailey.

Nathan Harris, from west London, set off a "lethal train of events" that led to Craig Brown, 20, being shot dead outside his girlfriend's home.

Mr Brown, who had been out with his son and his girlfriend, Denica Date, was shot five times in Shepherd's Bush as he unloaded Christmas shopping.

Harris, of the White City Estate, was ordered to serve a minimum of 16 years.

Three others - Adil Saed, 21, of Shepherd's Bush; Khalid Elsheikh, 22, of Hammersmith, west London and a 17-year-old youth - were cleared of murder.

Elsheikh was jailed for 10 years, however, after being found guilty of a separate charge of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The court heard that months before the murder, Mr Brown - a drug dealer from Battersea - was involved in a fight with Elsheikh.

The loss to Denica Date and her young son cannot be measured
Judge Richard Hawkins

When Harris spotted him on Christmas Eve he contacted associates, including Elsheikh, and ordered Mr Brown's killing.

"Your part in bringing these men to the scene to bring an end to Craig Brown's life was an important part," Judge Richard Hawkins told him.

"The loss to Denica Date and her young son cannot be measured."

It emerged Harris had previously been arrested, but not charged, over the murder of 16-year-old Kodjo Yenga in Hammersmith in 2007.

Later that year he was also alleged to have been involved in the rape of a teenage girl but was cleared after a trial.

Det Insp Kenny McDonald, who led the police investigation, said Harris had a "violent tendency".

And it was "exceptional" for such a young person to be involved in such serious crime, he added.

However defence QC Jeremy Carter-Manning said Harris's natural father had been in prison for most of the boy's life, and Harris was "not a leader of men".

"He got caught up in the activities of older and more mature people."

As Harris was led from the court, a woman in the public gallery shouted: "He didn't do it".

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