Jahmel Jones shooting: PhD student guilty of aiding murderers
- 28 February 2014
- From the section England
A PhD student has been found guilty of helping a gang of drug dealers flee after they had shot dead a rival.
Rachel Kenehan, 35, assisted boyfriend Pierre Lewis, 20, along with Jemmikai Orlebar-Forbes, 20 and Isaac Boateng, 22 after they killed Jahmel Jones.
Mr Jones, 23, was shot in the head in St Mary Street, Southampton, on 20 April and died later in hospital.
The three men were found guilty of murder after a trial at Winchester Crown Court.
Kenehan, from Hewlett Road, London, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, one count of assisting an offender and three counts of perverting the course of justice.
Earlier, court proceedings were delayed when two security staff were injured when a fight broke out in the cells.
The two men were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
During the trial, the jury heard Kenehan was mentoring Lewis when she began a relationship with him after he was released from jail in March 2012.
She had met him while taking part in a prison mentoring scheme in March 2012.
When Lewis was released, the prosecution said, she began assisting him in the supply and transport of Class A drugs, utilising her knowledge of criminal behaviour gained in her studies.
After the shooting, Kenehan picked up the three defendants from Basingstoke, took them back to London and helped them destroy forensic evidence.
Det Supt Paul Barton, from Hampshire Police, said: "It was a real surprise that someone who is intelligent, articulate and well brought up has got involved in this kind of criminality.
"It sounds like a love story which has gone horribly wrong. She's become infatuated with [Lewis].
"Only she can answer the questions, but it's had a devastating impact on her and her family."
Following the sentence Sarah Dineley, district prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wessex, said Kenehan "threw away her promising career".
"She met Pierre Lewis through her charitable mentoring work with young male offenders with the aim of reducing their re-offending on release from prison," she said.
"However, she failed to observe the boundaries that were set out by the charity between mentors and offenders and became infatuated with him."
A University of Essex spokeswoman said Kenehan, who was studying for a PhD at the university, had no teaching role and would be subject to procedures in line with the University's Code of Student Conduct.
London Metropolitan University, where she worked previously, refused to comment.
During the trial the court heard how Jahmel Jones had selected the St Mary's area of Southampton to sell crack cocaine and heroin.
Forbes, Lewis and Boateng had also travelled from London to sell drugs and had become rivals to Mr Jones.
They believed Mr Jones had robbed them of drugs and sought retribution.
The prosecution described how an eyewitness saw Orlebar-Forbes fire two shots with a revolver in a flat in St Mary's Street, one of which hit Mr Jones in the head.
Lewis from Castlenau, Barnes, Orlebar-Forbes, 20, from Cloudesdale Road, and Isaac Boateng, 22, of Mill Farm Crescent in Hounslow, had denied murder.
Lewis, Orlebar-Forbes and Boateng had previously admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Det Supt Barton described the killing as an "execution"
"Jahmel Jones was lured to address in St Mary's Street - there was no mistaking their intentions that day."
Speaking after the verdict, his mother Yvonne Francis said he had been "brutally murdered".
"Words cannot comprehend what I have gone through and am still going through.
"Justice is now done and I am truly thankful. No-one deserves to be murdered. Jahmel had his life taken from him... it is wrong," she said.
His father Shaun Jones said he had "already forgiven" his son's killers.
"I pray they will learn from this and turn their lives around," he said.
All four are due to be sentenced on Monday.