Sabrina Moss: Kilburn murder victim was innocent bystander

Sabrina Moss Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The mother was shot in the arm and through the heart

Three men have been convicted of the murder of a young mother who was gunned down in a north London gang feud while she was out celebrating her 24th birthday. But Sabrina Moss was not a gangster and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The mother-of-one had been out in Kilburn High Road last August with a group of friends and was sheltering from the rain in a shop awning when, without warning, two men began firing at the crowd, sending the terrified group fleeing.

"When the noise and the smoke drifted away, two young women lay on the pavement injured," said prosecutor Mark Heywood QC describing the aftermath.

"One survived after deeply invasive surgery, the other couldn't be saved, even by that."

Ms Moss, a nursery teacher with a four-year-old son, had been wearing a bright red dress while her friend Sabrina Gachette, who survived, wore a white top.

Police said it would have been hard for their attackers to not see them, indicating they had opened fire indiscriminately.

"Sabrina Moss was tall and in heels and would have stood out like a beacon in the night," said Det Sgt Martin Sloan who investigated the murder.

As the friends had stood in the shop awning - next to the Woody Grill takeaway - the intended targets, Edson Da'Silva and Mahad Ahmed, joined the group. Police said they were senior members of the South Kilburn Gang.

They were spotted by Yassin James, 19, who had links to the rival Wembley Fornia Dons gang, and Hassan Hussain, 29, of Willesden, who opened fire.

The court heard they had been tracking their prey on the night.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The gunmen opened fire at "point-blank range" at the group of people standing with Sabrina Moss

Armed with a Mac-10 sub-machine gun - dubbed the "spray and pray" by some - and a sawn-off shotgun, they waited "on the other side of the road, hoods over their heads, likely hands in gloves, faces shrouded," Mr Heywood said.

They then "ran out and fired at point-blank range".

Mr Heywood said the attack took place against a "backdrop of violent tension and animosity" between the rival groups.

"It was deep-seated, so deep-seated that it was enough to occupy their activities for most of the darkness hours."

Ms Moss was hit by a 9mm round fired from the Mac-10 and was shot in the arm and through the heart. She died in hospital.

Her friend Ms Gachette, also 24, was hit in the back by 50 shotgun pellets but was saved by medics.

Police say it was "entirely coincidental" that Ms Moss was at the scene.

Both James and Hussain had denied the shooting but, two weeks into the trial, the case took a dramatic turn when their getaway driver named them as the men he drove to and from the scene.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The young mother was out celebrating her 24th birthday when she was gunned down

Convicted drug dealer Martell Warren, 22, from Kensal Green, was a member of the Kensal Green Boys - or Bloods - gang. He was found guilty of murder along with James and Hussain.

He had told the court he had driven them to what he believed was a drugs deal at Messina Avenue.

He was told by Hussain to wait by Kilburn High Road as both men got out of the car. Warren says he then heard gunfire and the pair came running back.

In court, Hussain and James described Warren as a "dirty lying scumbag".

Although no weapons have been recovered from the scene of murder, police revealed the Mac-10 has been used in a number of crimes.

In 2009 it was used in two shootings in the West Midlands, with two people serving 20-year prison sentences in relation to its use.

In 2012, the same weapon was linked to a shooting in Kingsgate Place, close to Messina Avenue.

Last year the gun was used in a shooting at the Pool Crest Snooker club on Kilburn High Road.

But it was the third time the gun was fired, on the streets of north-west London, that resulted in a young mother out celebrating a milestone becoming another innocent victim of gang warfare.

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