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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 19:28 GMT
Mothers condemn 'blind' witnesses
Marcia Shakespeare and Bev Thomas
The victims' mothers said gangs took their girls away from them
The mothers of the two teenagers murdered in the Birmingham New Year shootings have attacked the witnesses who failed to come forward.

Letisha Shakespeare, 17, and Charlene Ellis, 18, were killed in a botched gang attack outside a party.

Marcia Shakespeare and Bev Thomas praised the witnesses who helped convict the four killers.

But they said some people had chosen to become deaf and blind and "would have to live with it".

Marcus Ellis, 24, Michael Gregory, 22, Nathan Martin, 26 and Rodrigo Simms, 20, were convicted of the girls' murders on Friday.

Speaking at a news conference after the six-month trial at Leicester Crown Court, Ms Thomas said she was satisfied with the verdict.

There were people there that saw and became blind and heard and became deaf
Bev Thomas

"The girls were innocent, they had nothing to do with it," she said.

"They were not a part of any dispute that these gangs were involved in.

"Yet the girls were taken away sadly by gangs and gun crime.

"There were people there that saw and became blind and heard and became deaf.

'Never forget'

"Nothing can bring back Charlene, but I am glad that this awful period in my life has come to a close."

Cheryl Shaw, 19, who was shot in the hand in the attack, said: "I am very pleased that justice has been done and the men will go to prison for a long time.

"We can never bring back Charlene and Letisha, but I will never forget them."

Letisha's mother, Marcia Shakespeare, 38, praised the witnesses who gave evidence in the case.

"Today has been a long time coming, but I would like to thank my family, the police, the jury and the court for their patience in this difficult case.

"I would also like to thank the witnesses who came forward to give evidence. I will always be grateful to them.

"I have a message for those who did not come forward who were there - 'You have to live with it'."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Families respond to New Year shootings verdict




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