Three gang members guilty of 'mistaken identity' murder of innocent man

2 December 2019, 14:50

The firearm used in the murder
The firearm used in the murder. Picture: Met Police
Sylvia De Luca

By Sylvia De Luca

Three gang members have been found guilty of murdering an innocent man who was shot dead in a van in north-east London.

Joseph Williams-Torres, 20, was targeted by three hooded youths as he sat in a van with a friend in Walthamstow, east London, on the evening of March 14 last year.

The court heard how the attackers mistakenly 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.

Their intended target was the same height and build and even wore the same beanie hat as Mr Williams-Torres, who lived locally.

He was hit in the chest and legs and died on the way to hospital less than an hour later.

Joseph Williams-Torres, 20, was fatally shot as he sat in a car.
Joseph Williams-Torres, 20, was fatally shot as he sat in a car. Picture: PA

The prosecutor told jurors the shooting was part of a series of related and "retaliatory" acts of violence that were rooted in a dispute between rival groups of youths.

Hamza Ul Haq, 21, Loic Nengese, 19, and a 16-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denied murder but were found guilty following a trial.

The prosecutor said Mr William-Torres' killing was "undoubtedly a ruthless and planned attack on a rival group member" but the defendants had "mistakenly identified" the victim for another man.

Following their convictions, Judge Anthony Leonard QC remanded the defendants into custody to be sentenced on January 10.

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