Joseph Burke-Monerville shooting: Fears for safety of ‘gang member’ called to testify at controversial inquest
- Credit: Archant
There are fears for the safety of an alleged Pembury Boys gang member when he is called to give evidence about his rivals at the inquest of shooting victim Joseph Burke-Monerville.
The three men accused and acquitted of murdering the 19-year-old three years ago have been called to give evidence at St Pancras, along with an alleged Pembury Boys gang member who has been granted anonymity and will go under the pseudonym Peter Brooks.
The revelations were made at a pre-inquest hearing yesterday.
Prosecutors were criticised in May 2015 when the murder trial collapsed just days before it was due to start.
Shahed Nowaz, 19, of Feltham Young Offenders’ Institute, Roshane Reid, 21, of Somerford Grove, and Scott Andrews, 27, of Amhurst Road, both in Hackney, were due to stand trial at the Old Bailey.
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Joseph Burke-Monerville, a member of the Nigerian Royal family who lived in Canonbury Square, was shot in the head while sitting in a car opposite the Pembury Estate in Hindrey Road, Lower Clapton, with his twin brother Jonathan and elder brother David.
Barrister Richard Keogh told coroner Mary Hassell yesterday Mr Reid was not fit to give evidence for psychiatric reasons.
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But the coroner said unless a medical report was provided as proof, with its author being prepared to testify in open court, Mr Reid would have to attend court in July.
“I will need to be convinced he is too unwell, and if he is too unwell I will need to postpone the hearing, I think he is an important witness and I will not give him up lightly,” she warned.
Ms Hassell has agreed “Peter Brooks” can give evidence behind a screen to protect his anonymity, although he will remain visible to Joseph’s immediate family.
“All three defendants were made aware of the identity of ‘Mr Brooks’, but the trial never came to fruition,” said the barrister acting for the Met Police.
“While it’s true his identity has been disclosed, there has been no public airing of [his] evidence.
“The A-Road gang and its members are well known to the police and it’s this evidence that ‘Mr Brooks’ will give which gives rise to very real concerns about his safety – a consequence of his giving evidence at the inquest will increase the threat to him and his family by this gang.”
Barrister for the family, Alison Rowe, asked for Joseph’s brothers David and Jonathan to give evidence behind closed screens, because they too “fear for their safety”, and was told to make an application for the coroner to consider.
“I have already thought about making a risk assessment at the court, I’m going to the Royal Courts of Justice to find out more,” said Ms Hassell.
Ms Rowe said the victim’s family wanted to find out whether the teenager’s death could be linked to a shooting on New Year’s Eve six weeks earlier.
No one was injured, but Mr Burke-Monerville’s family want to know if the police gangs unit had identified anyone as being at risk of retaliation.
They believe Mr Burke-Monerville may have been a victim of mistaken identity.
Ms Rowe also wanted the police to disclose what decisions were taken in the 48 hours after the shooting.
“There is a question of risk and protection of the public here, because an innocent member of the public was killed because he was caught in the crossfire,” she argued.
“Effectively the killers got away and that risk remains a very large one.”
But although the coroner said she was willing to hear the details of what went on before Joseph’s death, the inquest could not “become an investigation of the police investigation because that’s beyond its remit”.
The victim and his twin brother were in the back of the parked car when three shots were fired into it on Hindrey Road, Clapton, on February 16, 2013.
Mr Burke-Monverille, who was studying crime scene and forensic investigation at London Metropolitan University, was rushed to hospital but later died.
David Dele Bello-Monerville, 33, was also shot as he sat in the front seat but was later discharged from hospital.