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Gang members jailed

PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 August 2007 | UPDATED: 08:53 21 July 2010

FIVE members of a notorious gang are behind bars for a street shooting in Haggerston in which a four-year-old girl narrowly missed being seriously wounded...

FIVE members of a notorious gang are behind bars for a street shooting in Haggerston in which a four-year-old girl narrowly missed being seriously wounded.

The Love of Money gang, all of whom sport matching LOM tattoos, tried to gun down an innocent man for accidentally "dissing" them in a bar.

Victim Nicky Richards was chased and blasted with shotgun pellets because he had simply mistaken a gang member for a friend and shouted a greeting.

A second shot blasted through a passing car window - but the girl passenger miraculously cheated death because she had leaned forward to lick an ice cream.

Gang members Ross Oakford, 23, Clive Joe, 18, Ezekel Taylor, 21, and Levi Defreitas, 23, were all convicted of involvement in the attack after a trial at the Old Bailey earlier this year.

However, the case could not be reported until now because another gang member, Colin Hylton, 25, was awaiting trial.

On Friday, Hylton, of of Bletsoe Walk, Hoxton, pleaded guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Oakford, of Shrubland Road, Dalston, was convicted of incitement to cause grievous bodily harm and jailed for five years.

Gunmen Taylor, of Geffrye Court, Hoxton, and Joe, of Stanway Court, Hoxton, were jailed indefinitely for public protection after being convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

They will serve a minimum of six-and-a-half years and seven years behind bars respectively.

Defreitas, of Gopsall Street, Hoxton, was also convicted of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and was given a determinate sentence of seven years.

Judge Peter Rook said at the Old Bailey: "Those who participate in gun crime will be met with serious sentences."

Oakford became aggressive after Mr Richards mistakenly greeted him in Laburnum Street, off Kingsland Road, on April 10 last year.

Sallie Bennett-Jenkins, prosecuting, said: "Almost unbelievably, it was that small mistake that proved to be the trigger for the unnecessary and disproportionate violence that was to follow.

"He pointed at his tattooed hand. He made references to being in a gang and how this particular area they were in was his area."

The dispute soon became a full-on brawl.

Oakford was seen on his mobile phone and heard to say something to the effect of: "Blood, come down."

Joe, Taylor, Hylton and Defreitas raced to Laburnum Street and jumped out of a car, with Taylor brandishing a shotgun and Joe and Defreitas flanking him.

One round hit Mr Richards, leaving him with shotgun pellets buried in his head, his right arm, right shoulder, buttocks and hamstrings.

Another blast hit Neil Whitmore as he was driving past with his daughter strapped into the front seat.

Almost unbelievably, although the child was covered in smashed glass, she was not seriously injured.

Joe is already serving nine years manslaughter. His record of violent crime began when he was just 16.

He was convicted of wounding in 2005 after attacking a 15-year-old schoolgirl, but escaped with a community punishment.

While still on licence, Joe took part in a gang attack that left urban music producer Leon Johnson, dead.

His body was discovered in Stanley Street, Hoxton, in March last year. Joe and two others pleaded guilty to his manslaughter.

Oakford, Joe, Taylor and Defreitas were cleared by a jury of the attempted murder of Mr Richards.

The prosecution dropped charges of attempted murder and wounding with intent against Hylton after he pleaded guilty to the firearms charge. He is likely to be sentenced in September.

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