Three guilty of murdering man mistaken for gang member

Sentencing will take place in January

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Two men and a 16-year-old boy have been found guilty of murder after they shot an innocent man dead, having mistaken him for a rival gang member.

Hamza Ul-Haq, 21, Loic Nengese, 19 and the teenager who cannot be named, targeted 20-year-old Joseph Williams-Torres as he sat in a van with a friend in Walthamstow on March 14 last year.

The hooded attackers wrongly identified Mr Williams-Torres as a member of a rival gang, pulled out a gun and fired, before running off in less than two minutes, jurors heard.

Joseph’s father Tony said the family will “hold our heads high knowing our son had done nothing wrong”.

In his impact statement he said: “Our biggest loss is of course Joseph, he was so loved. He had the most beautiful personality and smile. He was so popular and had so many friends.” 

Joseph was not part of a gang

The Met Police said the murder was part of an ongoing gang feud – connected incidents include an armed raid on an amusement arcade and an attempt to break into a member's home with a machete and firearm.

Detective Sergeant Ian Valentine called for more information to “turn the tide” on gang violence.

He said: “Joseph’s murder was the result of ongoing retaliation and tit-for-tat incidents between rival gangs.

“The evidence heard by the court is a very sad tale of a group of young men caught up in gang violence and drugs activity, armed with guns and knives attacking others in a frankly shocking display of behaviour.

“Many lives in this case, and others, are being destroyed by gang violence. We need to turn the tide.”

Anyone with information can get in touch anonymously via Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 or where information can be passed on without tracing I.P address or identity.

The defendants are set to be sentenced on January 10 2020.

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