Four men were arrested after a salesman was “executed” on a false identity case.
Kwasi Mensah-Ababio was murdered after being mistakenly identified as a member of the gang held responsible for the murder of 32-year-old Craig Small two days earlier.
He was shot in the head at close range while sitting on a park bench in Wembley, north London, on July 7th last year.
The 35-year-old shooter Rene Montaque was sentenced today, Friday, November 13th, to life imprisonment of at least 30 years for the murder of the 26-year-old Mensah-Ababio.
Karlos Gracia, 23, and Alhassan Jalloh, 21, were also convicted of murder and sentenced to at least 26 and 25.5 years in prison, respectively.
Taalib Rowe, 25, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for manslaughter after a trial in March.
Judge Anuja Dhir QC said they “wanted a life for a life”.
She said, “It was an execution of a completely innocent, hardworking, intelligent, beloved young man.”
She said there were no words to describe the “grief and misery” caused by the murder of the victim’s family on trial.
Explaining the background of his death to the court, she said: “Days earlier, a member of your gang, Craig Small, was shot dead on Harrow High Road.
“Shortly after Mr. Small was murdered, a shrine was built near where he was killed.
“Mr. Mensah-Ababio was not involved in a gang, a gang or any crime. He was a law abiding, humble man. “
The judge said the defendants, all from Wembley, saw the victim near the shrine.
They then “mistook” him for a member of the rival gang who they believed was involved in Mr. Klein’s death.
Judge Dhir said, “For those of you convicted of murder, it would be an attenuating factor if you did not intend for Mr. Mensah-Ababio to be killed, but I am sure that was your intention.
“You wanted revenge for the murder of Mr. Small and one of you was armed with a gun.
“He was shot in the head under such circumstances. I have no doubt you wanted a life for a life.”
The defendants were convicted on March 23, when the land was blocked and new trials at the Old Bailey were suspended over the pandemic.
They were not in the dock to be sentenced, but rather were watching a video link from Belmarsh Prison.