A group of men have been convicted of killing a young man who was fatally shot in broad daylight near a children’s playground in revenge for a robbery they mistakenly thought he had committed.
Demetrios Kyriacou, 35 (14.01.87) of Liverpool Road, Islington, was found guilty of the murder of 22-year-old Imani Allaway-Muir following an 11 week trial at the Old Bailey.
James Nicholson, 36 (06.02.86), of no fixed address, Matthew Hardy, 35 (04.06.86), of Six Acres Estate, Islington, and Darren Dredge, 40 (08.09.81), of no fixed address, were all found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. Three other men were found not guilty of all charges.
Nathaniel Reece, 41 (01.03.81), of Southgate Road, Islington – who fired the gun – pleaded guilty to murder on day two of the trial.
The court heard that shortly after 12:50hrs on 4 July 2020, Kyriacou was robbed by four unknown men on Carville Street, N4. Kyriacou suffered head injuries and had his Rolex watch, cash and iPhone stolen. The suspects drove off in a black BMW.
Officers attended the scene and spoke to Kyriacou who was with his blue Range Rover. He said he believed the suspects had a knife and he did not know them, but he did not wish to speak further about it.
Following the robbery, arrangements were made for the defendants to meet at Hardy’s home address on Six Acres Estate in Islington, where Kyriacou was living at the time.
At the flat, the defendants made enquiries to locate Kyriacou’s stolen property by using the ‘find my iPhone app.’ Once they had the location, they drove to the area and encircled it. A loaded firearm was also collected en-route.
Kyriacou and Reece were the last to arrive in the area shortly before 15:20hrs. They got out of Kyriacou’s blue Range Rover on Faraday Close and went down an alleyway
where a group of people, and the stolen property, were located.
Seconds later, Reece shot Imani multiple times on Roman Way, N7. They then ran back to the Range Rover and the vehicles, which had brought people to the scene from the Six Acres Estate rendezvous, left the area as quickly as possible. Nicholson later collected the gun from Reece and disposed of it, it has not been recovered by the police.
Officers, the London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance attended and found Imani lying on the ground in a children’s playground about 20 metres from the scene of the shooting. He was unconscious but breathing. Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, Imani was pronounced dead at 15:49hrs, about 30 minutes after he had been shot. A post-mortem examination revealed he had four bullet wounds to his body.
Officers searched the area of the shooting and found 14 bullet casings as well as an iPhone, two Nokia mobile phones and a snapped SIM card. The phones and the SIM card belonged to Kyriacou and formed part of the property stolen during the earlier robbery.
A black BMW was also recovered by police at the scene, which was the same one used by the suspects in the earlier robbery.
However, detectives established the Imani was not involved in the robbery of Kyriacou. Tragically, he had arrived at the location where the stolen property was located moments before Kyriacou and Reece appeared. When Reece opened fire, Imani was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The court heard that while it was Reece who discharged the firearm and took Imani’s life, the other defendants were all jointly responsible for this death, because in their different ways they knowingly assisted and encouraged the commission of the offence.
Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command launched a
a murder investigation after Imani’s death, and were able to prove the defendants’ involvement by piecing together CCTV, mobile phone data and ANPR and speaking to a number of people who witnessed the shocking attack.
Kyriacou, Reece, Hardy and Dredge were all arrested in July 2020 shortly after the murder, while Nicholson was arrested in February 2021.
They were all charged with murder and were convicted as above. They will be sentenced at the same court on a date yet to be set.
Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “Imani was a young man who had his whole life ahead of him, but by simply being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, he was tragically killed in a horrific act of violence that took place in broad daylight just metres away from a children’s playground and a football pitch which was full of children.
“Kyriacou had refused the police’s help after the robbery and decided to take matters into his own hands, recruiting his friends to take part in his deadly revenge plan. The joint actions of these men resulted in the execution of Imani, who paid with his life for a robbery he had no involvement in.
“There is never an excuse for violence, especially violence using an illegal firearm, and everyone in the Met remains committed to tackling violence in all its forms and removing dangerous weapons, and those who carry them, from the streets of London.”
+ The Met’s efforts to bear down on gun crime in London is making a significant impact. So far this year, lethal barrel discharges have reduced by 37 per cent (Jan-April 22) compared with the same period in 2021 and officers have seized 524 lethal firearms from the streets (financial year 2021/22.)
The Met is taking part in the national firearms surrender from Thursday, 12 May and asking those
with firearms and ammunition to hand in their weapons. Those who do so will remain anonymous and will not face prosecution for the illegal possession at the point of surrender.