Sunday, 19 October 2008

Delphon Nicholas and hitman Trevor Dennie began life sentences for the murder of Andrew Wanogho

Delphon Nicholas, 29, arranged for his former childhood friend Andrew Wanoghu to be shot in the back by a hired assassin.Nicholas was convicted of murder in one of the first cases of its kind to be successfully prosecuted.Delphon Nicholas, left, is facing a life sentence after arranging for hitman Trevor Dennie, right, to shoot Andrew WanoghuWhile mobile phones are banned from British jails, many are smuggled into prisons.Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee told jurors that Nicolas 'orchestrated the execution from inside Belmarsh security prison by using a mobile telephone he had access to'.He added: 'He had been set up for execution. It is a world where grievances are met with lethal firearms, no matter how disproportionate.'
Wanoghu was no stranger to the criminal justice system - and was once charged with murder - for the 2002 shooting of Damien Cope, 22, whose mother Lucy went on to form the charity Mothers Against Guns, but the case collapsed due to lack of evidence.
Andrew Wanagho was shot after being lured into a trap
Nicholas fell out with Wanoghu over a drug deal that went sour and the two had a fist fight which Wanoghu won. In revenge, Wanoghu robbed Nicholas' father on Valentines Day 2006.Nicholas enlisted another childhood friend, Trevor Dennie to carry out the 'hit'. Dennie had fallen out with the victim after his mother Susan gave a statement to police about Damien Cope's murder. Dennie was heard telling a friend: 'I have had enough of Andy. he's gone too far.'The chance for revenge came on the night of April 7, 2006, when a friend of Nicholas', Michael Williams, got into a row with the victim in a nightclub in Lewisham, south-east London.
Williams was threatened with a beating for calling Wanoghu an 'idiot.'
Over the next hour mobile phone records showed Dennie repeatedly spoke to Nicholas, behind bars a few miles away, on a mobile phone that had been smuggled into his prison cell.It was claimed that Nicholas persuaded an ex-girlfriend, Sereata Barrie, 29, to lure Wanoghu to an ambush outside her house in Brockley, south-east London.

At 1.30am on 8 April 2006, Dennie fired the bullet that passed through Wanoghu's heart.Nicholas denied murder, and said of Wanoghu: 'It would be hard for you to find someone with more enemies than him in the whole of London. Maybe he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.'Barrie, an aspiring rapper who described herself as 'La Femme Nikita' in a lyric after a film in which a female assassin lures a man to his death, was cleared of murder by a jury, as were two other men allegedly involved in the killing.
Nicholas, of no fixed address, and Dennie, of Deptford south-east London were both convicted of murder, which they denied, and will be sentenced on Friday at the Old Bailey.To combat the menace of mobile phones in jail, the prison service has recently begun trials in training sniffer dogs specialised in detecting them.
Nicholas and Dennie began life sentences for the murder of Wanogho yesterday, closing the final chapter on the story of a gun that ended the life of one veteran gangster before initiating a young boy to follow in his footsteps.

This gun was used in at least seven shootings, including one murder, as it was passed between hoods, rented out or stolen by rival street gangs in the UK. Its discovery has added much needed information to senior police officers who admit there is a significant intelligence gap on criminal weaponry.Unlike many firearms used in London, Manchester and Birmingham, cities that account for 60% of serious gun crime by gangs, RS1 is a real weapon, not a converted replica. Its magazine held commercially manufactured ammunition, rather than "homemade" bullets - something often seen by detectives - and the ageing weapon was probably purchased for between £500 and £1,000.The trail left by the firearm can be reported following the life sentences handed down yesterday to two street gangsters for murder.It was discovered on a November morning in 2006 when a teenage boy set off for school telling his mother not to look in his room. Whether it was something in his tone, or just a mother's instinct, she ignored him. In his bedroom he kept a toy safe for his belongings, and inside she found the gun. She called the police and the firearm was taken away to a forensics laboratory where it was identified as a CZ .32 Colt Model 1927, manufactured by Ceska Zbrojovka of Strakonice, Czechoslovakia. The gun was loaded, with three live rounds in the magazine. A bullet was lodged in the barrel.
A few weeks later Detective Inspector Dave Manning, of the Metropolitan police's Trident unit, received a telephone call. After more than eight months investigating the murder of a notorious drug dealer, killer and kidnapper called Andrew Wanogho, he had all but given up on receiving such a contact.His inquiry was fraught with difficulties. At 26, the victim was running a syndicate of teenage armed robbers who would also do his drug running. Shortly before his murder Wanogho complained to the woman he called his "baby mother" - the mother of his child - that he did not have a friend left in the world.His killing was, on the face of it, just another inner city gangland shooting; the sort officers from Trident deal with all the time but which pass almost un-noticed by the media.But this inquiry opened a window on to a criminal subculture which exists cheek by jowl with ordinary families in ordinary neighbourhoods; the class A drug dealing, the incredible reach of the criminal networks, the threatening and taking of lives, the kidnappings, sexual violence, extortion and witness intimidation. And at the heart of it all, the tool used to enforce and protect: the gun.Wanogho, known as Sparks, was a powerful amateur boxer who had fought successfully in the United States. Held in awe and fear in equal measure by his peers, he was seen as a protector by some but a mercurial and extremely violent man by others. A Pentecostal pastor described to the 350 people at his funeral in Brockley, south London, how he would push his disabled brother to church each week in a wheelchair. Less was said of his history of violence.
"He was a formidable boxer and would beat people to a pulp and get pleasure out of it," said one source. He once kidnapped and tortured a bus driver whose brother was a rival drug dealer. The man was driven to a flat and chained to a radiator before Wanogho held a hot iron against his face. It was all done to intimidate the man's brother into giving up his drug stash. Four years before his murder Wanogho was charged with the murder of a man shot dead outside an east London nightclub. He escaped conviction after two witnesses withdrew their evidence because they were in fear of their lives.In August 2005, Wanogho survived an assassination attempt as he left a courtroom where he had watched a girlfriend plead guilty to possession of one of his guns in order to save him from jail. Eight months later he was not so lucky.
Manning was convinced the hit on Wanogho in April 2006 had been organised by an inmate at HMP Belmarsh on a mobile phone that was smuggled into the prison system and which, investigations revealed, had made 17,000 calls in seven months. But facing a wall of silence, Trident officers spent months scanning thousands of pages of mobile records until a pattern emerged. The inmate, Delphon Nicholas, had made a flurry of calls in the hours before the killing to his best friend, a gunman, rapist and drug trafficker called Trevor Dennie.Both men had fallen out with Wanogho over drugs and women and Dennie was heard telling a friend: "I've had enough of Andy, he's gone too far. He's barred from the ends." At 1.30am on April 8 2006 Wanogho stepped out of a car outside the home of Nicholas's former girlfriend. He told Sean Albert, who had driven him, that he was "up for a bit of a shagging".
Albert drove a discreet distance away to wait until he was called again. But Dennie was lying in wait and as Albert pulled up a few houses down the road he heard a series of gun shots in rapid succession. He looked in his rear view mirror and saw Wanogho, head down, sprinting towards him. But just as he reached the car he crumpled to the ground, hit in the back by a bullet that pierced his heart.
On Wanogho's body police found the incongruous possessions of a Class A drug dealer and gangster - a £17,000 diamond encrusted Cartier watch and £1.11 in cash. They also recovered two of the four bullets fired, including one that had ricocheted off a parked car and landed in a front garden.The closest they got to the gun, however, was a witness who described seeing Dennie brandishing it over his head at an east London nightclub a few hours later and boasting that he had killed Wanogho.Eight months on Manning was told that the gun found in a 14-year-old boy's bedroom was his murder weapon. Somehow it had passed from Dennie through several hands to being stored by the boy on the orders of an older hood, probably as some kind of initiation rite. Ballistics tests showed that the .32 caliber handgun had been used in at least seven shootings in less than two years, six in south London and one in Sussex.On New Year's Eve in 2004 a police officer was responding to a 999 call from a victim of a robbery in Brockley Cross, in the heart of what Dennie described as his "manor". He arrived to find three men nearby, and as he walked up to speak to them, the trio ran. But one man turned, pulled a gun and shot at the constable as he fled.This time the bullet missed its target. Police made inquiries but never made any headway. No arrests were made and the firearm disappeared back into the shadows.
It emerged 10 months later at the Cube nightclub in Camberwell Green, south London, in a petty dispute. The victim happened to bump into a man as he went to the toilet and was shot in the thigh for his clumsiness.In April 2006 the handgun reached its zenith with the murder of Wanogho, leaving a bullet lodged in his heart and two others at the scene which provided the vital link. Three weeks after the murder the firearm emerged once more at M-Blax nightclub in Peckham. At around 5.40am in the final hour of clubbing, a group of young men from a north London gang burst into the venue carrying weapons, intent on shooting up their south London rivals. Clubbers screamed and ran as a gunfight broke out in the crowded club. At least 21 shots were fired and three men were taken to hospital. Cartridges found at the scene matched the firearm found in the boy's bedroom.By June 2006 the gun had been passed on or stolen once more, its value by now diminished because of its use in a murder. It appeared again at the unlikely venue of Pontins in Camber Sands, when a group of teenagers from the capital travelled to the Sussex holiday camp for an urban music weekend. Large crowds gathered on the Sunday at the main hip hop stage, but in the midst off the rave the sound of gunshots sent young people running for cover. By the time local police arrived with firearms teams the elusive weapon had melted away into the background once more.A month later it was back in south London again, when shots were fired at a car. The gun was probably last used in the autumn of 2006 when it was accidentally fired by a would-be gangster.In the remaining four weeks of its criminal life the firearm was passed into the hands of the teenage boy, who according to sources, was bullied by the hoods because he suffered from Asperger's syndrome.It provided a forensic treasure trove. "It is quite rare to recover guns at all, so to recover a weapon that is linked to seven shootings is unusual," said Manning. "Everyone talks about guns being available on street corners, but it's not quite as easy as that to get hold of one. It's even more difficult to get hold of real ammunition."The boy's experience gave credence to anecdotal evidence that criminals are forcing younger boys to store their guns to test their metal and once the gun was found the teenager was said to be terrified of repercussions. But his mother's actions in calling the police perhaps saved him from being sucked into a life of crime.


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