Case: As bizarre as it was brutal: the murder of Curtis Smith
Curtis Smith
Andrew Denty
Status: Solved
Categories: Domestic
Case synopsis:

Drug dealer Andrew Denty mowed down his disabled brother’s carer with a Mach-10 submachine gun because he was jealous of their close relationship.

Victim Curtis Smith died in a hail of bullets outside an East London nightclub in a murder described by prosecutors as being ‘as bizarre as it was brutal.’

The 36-year-old was employed to provide round-the-clock care to Denty’s wheelchair-bound Clifford, who was shot in 2002 and left quadriplegic from his injuries.

Both he and the defendant were registered as carers at a firm called Independent Community Care Management (ICCM).

By the time of the murder in the early hours of July 27, 2008, Mr Smith had been working with Clifford for five years, and had already felt the brunt of his brother’s ‘festering hostility.’

In May 2008, he reported concerns about Denty to his manager at ICCM, saying he had received physical threats from the defendant and feared for his safety.

In her notes on the May 6 meeting, the manager described Mr Smith as ‘appearing very frightened’ of the defendant.

The carer also confided to his wife that he suspected Denty was dealing drugs from his house and said the family lived a ‘champagne lifestyle’.

Mr Smith also told his close friend Omar Brown that Denty had pulled a gun on him, and said he had seen him hiding a weapon in a compartment in Clifford's wheelchair before they went out to nightclubs.

He described Denty to Mr Brown as ‘a man in charge of everyone and not caring about anyone’.

But despite his fears, Mr Smith asked that no action to be taken because he did not want to leave Clifford.

Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee, QC, later told the Old Bailey: ‘This defendant’s attitude towards the deceased man, while in some ways irrational, may well have stemmed from the fact that Clifford Denty had grown quite dependant on the deceased, which displeased him.

‘This defendant began to manifest his attitude in a number of ways, all of which had one thing in common, a demonstration of power over the deceased.’

On the night of July 26, 2008, Mr Smith and Denty took Clifford to the Club Red in Cable Street, Limehouse for a friends’ birthday party.

They left the club in the early hours of the following morning and helped their patient into his adapted Mercedes.

But once Clifford was in the car, Denty shot Mr Smith repeatedly in the back of the head.

Grainy CCTV footage from outside the nightclub captured the moment when Denty fired the gun and he could be seen running to the driver's side of the Mercedes Vaneo and speeding off.

The film showed clubbers and door staff diving for cover as he opened fire.

Mr Smith died almost instantly from three bullet wounds to the back of the head and neck, two of which passed through his brain. A fourth shot also glanced the side of his head.

Jurors heard he died on the day of his first wedding anniversary.

Mr Jafferjee said: ‘Curtis Smith was gunned down. He died where he fell and so this case is as bizarre as it is brutal.

‘Bizarre in that one carer of a victim of gun crime is gunned down by the other carer.

‘It is brutal in that Curtis Smith was effectively executed. Shot in the back of his head by a Mach-10 machine gun.’

Denty was arrested soon afterwards as police launched a murder inquiry.

The weapon was removed from the Denty home within hours of killing by the gunman's cousin Emmanuel Okot, 25 who stashed it in an overgrown garden of a disused house, next door to his stepbrother's home.

When he was arrested on September 6 last year on separate matters, he was held on the same wing of the same prison as Denty.

Okot's stepbrother, who became aware of the concealment, refused to help and instead called the police and led officers to the murder weapon.

In court Denty, who knew the victim as 'Adrian', blamed the killing on a 'mystery gunman'.

He was convicted of murder after a two week trial at the Old Bailey and jailed for life with a minimum of 35 years.

Curtis SmithAndrew Denty

Victim Curtis Smith (left) and 'remorseless killer' Andrew Denty

Judge Richard Hone QC said: 'You Andrew Denty are a cold blooded arrogant and remorseless killer.

'The build up to the death of Curtis Smith shows a mixture of increasing antagonism towards your brother's best carer and progressive intimidation by having a gun either in your hand or left on your bed to intimidate others.

'You were prepared to go to extreme lengths to kill an innocent and good man to demonstrate your power and exert your influence over others.

'You have absolutely no insight into the enormity of what you have done. You are entirely self-centred and selfish.

'You are an immensely dangerous individual and any decision to allow your release after you have served the minimum term of 35 years will be a heavy responsibility.'

As he was lead down to the cells Denty said: 'May God forgive you for the lies you have brought against me in order to convict me.'

Okot was jailed for three years after he admitted conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

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