CCTV ‘too poor quality’ to reveal gunman’s identity, jury told
Three deny murder in Yasir Beshira case
31 August, 2017 — By William McLennan
LAWYERS for a 15-year-old boy accused of shooting a man to death in front of horrified shoppers have said that CCTV footage allegedly proving his guilt is too poor quality to be conclusive.
The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, is alleged to have hidden behind a bin next to a restaurant in Kilburn High Road before firing once at 21-year-old Yasir Beshira, fatally wounding him in the stomach.
The boy is on trial at the Old Bailey alongside Sammi Tesfazgi, 21, from West Hampstead, and Rilind Tahiri, 22, of Islington, who allegedly drove him to and from the killing in a stolen Range Rover.
Jurors have been shown footage of the teenager being picked up near his home and driven to Netherwood Street, where he is alleged to have walked through the Webheath estate before lying in wait for his victim in a side street next to a branch of Nando’s.
His defence counsel, Tom Allen QC, told the jury that the CCTV images that allegedly show him fleeing the scene are “undoubtedly of poor quality”. Challenging the prosecution case that the boy’s distinctive Adidas tracksuit bottoms, with trademark white stripes, had been picked up on camera, Mr Allen said it was “simply a reflection of the trousers on the right leg rather than stripes”.
He added: “What you can see on both the inner aspect of his left leg and then his right leg is simply a reflection of the light on each leg.” Police have used dozens of security cameras to follow the 15-year-old suspect and the victim to the scene, but were unable to capture the handful of seconds when the shooting took place.
Council cameras show Mr Beshira cross Kilburn High Road and enter the side street, Palmerston Road, before re-appearing nine seconds later clutching his stomach and collapsing on the pavement. Prosecutor Brian O’Neill QC, describing the moments after the shooting, told the jury: “Mr Beshira was running along the pavement. He appeared to have his right hand towards his stomach area. He got so far and then you can see that he fell to the ground.”
Emergency medics attempted life-saving surgery on the pavement next to Ellie’s Cafe, but were unable to revive Mr Beshira, who was pronounced dead just over an hour after the shooting.
The court had earlier heard that Mr Beshira, known as “Loopy”, was a “small-time drug dealer” working as a “runner” for an organised drug network. But in the days before his death, the court was told, Mr Beshira had let it be known that “orders for drugs could now be placed with him directly”. Mr O’Neill told the jury: “It may well be the case that it was his decision to go it alone that led to him being murdered.”
The teenager, who is now 16, Mr Tesfazgi and Mr Tahiri all deny charges of murder.
The trial continues.