Daily Mail (London), March 20, 2007
A sacked social worker had to be dragged screaming from a court after a foul-mouthed tirade at a judge about gang culture today.
Two members of an armed gang of hooded thugs that included the killers of Tom ap Rhys Price were been jailed for a minimum of five years each.
The woman shouted references to Kodjo Yenga, 16, killed in Hammersmith last week: “They stabbed him to death. Do you know just what they were shouting? ‘Kill him, kill him’.” She was shouting about “children being killed in their f****** beds” as she was dragged out.
The woman, named unofficially as Liz Johnson and said to have been the social worker for defendants Harry Bees, 17, and Aaron Dennis, 19, was detained under the Mental Health Act.
She yelled at the judge: “I’m a social worker. I’ve just lost my job.” As police and court officials rushed to restrain her, she shouted: “I don’t care if I f****** get arrested. That boy that was lying on the floor dying . . . they stabbed him to death.
“Do you know just what they were shouting? ‘Kill him, kill him’.” As worried officials begged her to stop, she said: “I’ve already got the sack.”
The judge remained in his seat as she harangued him, and tried to calm her as she became more and more hysterical, but what he said could not be heard above her screams.
As pandemonium overtook the court, she was surrounded by around ten officials and lawyers trying to calm her, but she shouted ever louder. She said: “My children. F*** the lot of you. For every black child who is shot dead in their bed by gangs . . . you will f****** listen to me.
“You will have to f****** kill me to get me off this stand.” There were then heckles from the public gallery as people shouted ‘get her out of here’, and in moments dozens of people were yelling at the same time.
After the interjection the court heard, the gang conducted a terrifying campaign of robbery and gratuitous violence, the self-styled Kensal Green Tribe rampaged through Tube trains like a “pack of animals”.
Some victims were stabbed while others where overwhelmed by a mob-handed barrage of punches and kicks as iPods, mobile phones, watches and cash was snatched.
One woman, held up at gun point, was even threatened with rape when she initially refused to hand over her valuables.
Those who dared resist were subjected to particular brutality, London’s Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court was told. Death threats were frequent.
During eight months of savagery they and other gang members together committed an estimated 150 robberies.
Nearly half were on the underground. It was one of the most brutal and systematic “steaming” sprees the system had suffered and sent month-on-month statistic soaring by a staggering 400 per cent.
Victims were carefully selected with the help of a sickening “good mugging guide” one of the thugs made from a large London Underground map and hung on his bedroom wall.
Easy pickings were marked “good eating”, while stations with a heavy police presence or where “prey” tended to resist were also identified.
It all peaked with the cold-blooded murder of high flying City lawyer Tom ap Rhys Pryce. Donnel “G Rock” Carty, 19, and Delano “Shy” Brown, 18, were jailed for life last year after they followed him from Kensal Green tube station in north-west London and stabbed him repeatedly for his mobile, oyster card and £20.
Those dealt with today were Aaron “Redrat” Dennis, 19, of Hindes Road, Harrow—who ranked alongside Carty and Brown in the violent stakes—and Sebastian “Icer” Chidi, also 19, of St Luke’s Mews, Notting Hill.
They both admitted conspiracy to rob between December 18, 2005 and January 15 last year on an indictment limited to a sample 36 of the 70 or so tube attacks. Nine were carried out on just one evening.
The pair also pleaded guilty to some of the individual attacks. Neither showed any emotion as Judge Henry Blacksell QC told them: “These were dreadful crimes and are offences which the public are extremely concerned about. And so should the courts be.
“What you did was absolutely terrible. “You preyed on members of the public in a callous and cynical way . . . so there can be no justification for what you did.
“You take such benefits there are from society and then abuse other members of the public, terrifying them.
“And the dreadful, dreadful aspect of this case, sadly not unique, is the way violence was used gratuitously.”
The judge continued: “This was absolutely terrible what the poor members of the public had to endure whilst you gratuitously robbed and threatened and humiliated.
“These people were trapped, unable to do anything at all to protect themselves or help others who were being mercilessly beaten. “You even committed these crimes in front of little children . . . they were absolutely terrified.
“I have no doubt you are ruthless. What occurred on these carriages was well planned.”
The judge said despite their fear victims were able to describe the “extremely well organised, efficient and calm” way they cased each carriage, and said it was clear they knew “exactly what they were doing”.
“This has elements of cowardice, because this is a group of people picking on individuals who were stuck, trapped in carriages. It also has elements of bullying.”
And if those they robbed had the “temerity” to try and hold on to their property they were “attacked even more violently by the group, kicked and knifed.
“Furthermore once they were rendered completely harmless, dazed and bleeding, you turned on some of those who were absolutely stunned by having to watch this.
“It was outrageous conduct. I can’t think of anything of this type more serious than that which you have to be sentenced for.
“You are a considerable danger to the public . . . in my judgment you do indeed pose a serious risk of serious harm to the public.”
The judge added each would serve a minimum of five years behind bars—initially in a young offenders institution—before becoming eligible for parole.
Four other members of the gang, who were found guilty of the conspiracy charge by the jury, will be sentenced tomorrow.
The six-week trial heard most of the robberies—many involving Carty and Brown—occurred in north-west London on the Bakerloo Line, with others on the Central and Northern lines.
Danny Robinson, prosecuting, said their so called “outings” saw “increasing levels of violence”.
“It started . . . with threats to stab and progressed through physical violence to knives being produced and people actually being stabbed,” said counsel.
Some were knifed in the neck, others in the leg. “The actions of this group, we say, terrified people. That’s what they intended to do, terrified by their numbers and force,” he added.
Most victims were in their 20s or middle aged, with at least one in his 60s.
All described ordeals—some of which began with a fist in the face as they dozed—which had left them scarred for life, emotionally, physically or both.
One of them, smashed over the head with a Coke bottle and stabbed in the thigh, told jurors: “They were like a pack of animals.”
It was Mr ap Rhys Pryce’s callous killing on January 12 last year that shocked the nation, although his “tragic” death had not been linked at that stage to the gang’s robbery spree.
Having trailed him from the tube station, Carty and Brown slashed him across the face and hand and then stabbed him once in the thigh and twice in the chest. One wound pierced his heart. He died within seconds.
Earlier that evening the 31-year-old had spoken to the priest due to marry him and his fiancee.
When the public school and Cambridge-educated solicitor was found sprawled on the ground just yards from his home, he was still clutching a blood spattered print out of his wedding vows.
All but one of the gang was eventually identified following an exhaustive British Transport Police investigation involving thousands of CCTV images, extensive DNA evidence and “good old fashioned detective work”.
Today’s proceedings were briefly interrupted minutes after the hearing began when a social worker for two of the gang members clambered over desks and subjected the judge to a five-minute, foul-mouthed tirade mainly in support of young, black crime victims.
She was eventually dragged from court by police, arrested and detained under the Mental Health Act.