- Young, Innocent and Inside - The Case of Sam Hallam
2 (of 7) Murder Investigation
The investigation into Essayas Kassahun's murder was undertaken by the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime Directorate (SCD). The SCD's remit includes 'disrupting criminal networks at all levels...from street gangs in neighbourhoods to sophisticated groups also operating nationally and internationally'.
There was no reason to believe that the group of young people from Hoxton on St Luke's estate on 11th October 2004 were members of an organised gang. Police and prosecution subsequently claimed that the attack was carried out by a gang called the "Hoxton Biker Boys". It is doubtful whether any such gang existed. SCD officers' 'mindset' was that they were investigating organised gang culture rather than an initially minor dispute between young people which had escalated with tragic consequences.
Officers sought to identify individuals who had been in the group which attacked Louis Colley and Essayas Kassahun. On 12th October 2004, PH - a 17 year old former girlfriend of Essayas - made a written statement in which she named two black youths from Hoxton, Pellam McCook and KM who she encountered on St Luke's estate shortly before the attack. She walked with the two youths into Bath Street where she stopped and observed them joining a group of white and black youths among whom she recognised two white males Jamie Martin and Danny Martin.
PH stated she observed someone being attacked but "could not see who it was...I was very concerned about my friends in Old Street outside Somerfields". She said she could see "a light coloured baseball bat raised above the group, someone then swung the bat downwards very hard." In her 12th October statement, PH said that she later saw a short black youth carrying a baseball bat and smirking. The four youths named by PH later stood trial for Essayas' murder but were acquitted on the direction of the trial judge.
In his first statement on 13th October 2004, BK who had been one of the group chatting outside the Somerfield store named Bullabeck Ringbiong as one of the attackers. The only other assailant he said he recognised was 'a skinny white boy about 19 to 20 years old, 5"8" and lives in Murray Grove" (in Hoxton). He also described another boy who was riding a silver BMX bike "white about 5'6" 17 or 18 years old...he had some blondish hair poking up of the front of his hood". In police interviews, BK stated that he would be unable further to identify this boy "because I never looked at him".
In his initial statement to police on 12th October 2004, the intended victim of the attack, Louis Colley professed not to recognise 'by name' any of the crowd which had attacked him but in a statement the next day (13th October 2004), he named the leader of the attackers as Bullabeck Ringbiong with whom he had attended school.
Another witness AF, a young Portuguese woman, named the same two Hoxton black youths identified by PH as having been on St Luke's estate that night. Although, she was unable to name him, the person she stated as having first confronted Louis Colley was consistent with Bullabeck Ringbiong's description.
As a result of witness interviews and other intelligence, officers brought several Hoxton young people into various police stations for questioning /next