Case: Execution on Christmas Eve: Craig Brown
Victim
Name:
Craig Brown
Gender:
Male
Date:
2008-12-24
Nationality:
British
Weapon:
Gun
Killer
Name:
Nathan Harris
Gender:
Male
Nationality:
British
Status: Solved
Categories: Gang
Case synopsis:

Craig Brown and his girlfriend Denica Date had been Christmas shopping and their car was laden with presents.

They parked up outside their home and headed inside with their purchases, barely noticing the two teenagers hanging around at the end of the road.

But as Craig, 20, stood at the boot collecting the last gifts they walked up and calmly shot him five times.

His girlfriend did not hear the shots and went outside to see what was taking him so long.

'There was no sign of Craig,' she said. 'The car boot was open which I didn't understand.

'I walked over to the car and as I approached it he was not in the driver's seat. Then I noticed him lying on the pavement.

'I touched his head. His eyes started rolling and blood was coming out of him and that's when I realised something happened.'

Craig Brown died almost instantly from bullets to the head, neck, shoulder and chest. It was 4.20pm on Christmas Eve, 2008.

The motive appeared to lie in a fight a few months earlier in which Craig Brown - a small time drug dealer - bit off part of the ear of 22 year-old Khalid Elsheikh.

When Elsheikh was arrested in connection with the murder in May 2009, a Baikal 9mm revolver, silence and ammunition was found at his home.

His mobile phone also showed he had been in contact with 15 year-old Nathan Harris minutes before the shooting.

Harris was known as 'Money' and was a member of the west London street gang Instruments of Cruelty or IOC.

In videos posted on Youtube he boasted about being caught loading his 'pump' by his mother and rapped about drugs, adding: 'I make mad money in a week, I've got a fresh batch sitting in my bum cheeks.'

He had previously been arrested for the murder of teenager Kodjo Yenga in September 2007 but was never charged.

Nathan Harris

Nathan Harris was arrested for two murders and a rape by the age of 16

During a trial at the Old Bailey in September 2009, the prosecution claimed Harris 'called on' the hit after spotting Craig Brown and his girlfriend in the White City Estate in west London.

Harris then directed the gunmen to the family home in Loftus Road, Shepherds Bush, west London, as the pair unloaded their Christmas presents.

Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee told the court: 'What he did was effectively to set off a lethal train of events, and quite deliberately.

'Revenge was going to be as swift as it was brutal and in less than 35 minutes Craig Brown was shot dead.

'This was the killing of a man who was in the process of moving his Christmas gift wrapping from the boot of a car and was entirely defenceless as he was shot.'

Denica Date was able to identify Harris as the teenager she had spotted on the estate and in Loftus Road minutes before the attack.

The jury convicted Harris of murder but cleared Elsheikh and two others of involvement in the shooting.

Judge Richard Hawkins QC ordered Harris serve a minimum of 16 years behind bars before being considered for parole.

The judge told Harris: 'You called men to the scene to put an end to the life of Craig Brown, you took part in the unlawful act knowing a gun or guns were available for use.

'Your part to bring men to the scene to put an end to Craig Brown's life was important, it is clear to me that all those who took part, and that includes you, must have intended the victim to be killed.'

The sentence was met with a furious reaction in the public gallery where Harris's supporters traded insults with friends and family of the victim.

Khalid Elsheikh was jailed for 10 years for possessing the gun.

In a statement read to the court Miss Date revealed she had been forced to start a new life with her young son away from the area.

She said: 'Every day I wake up and wish this whole situation was a horrible nightmare. Craig wanted the best for me and his son.

'Craig's murder has had such a massive impact on our life. I have been forced to start a new life alone.

'My son has had a terrible start to his life which has been caused by this mindless, malicious and selfish act.'

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