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Girlfriend of man shot dead in mistaken identity case calls for people to ‘wake up’ to violence

Victim's partner helps appeal to fly Wilson Varela's body back to Portugal

19 September, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Julie Krasevec with her boyfriend Wilson Varela

THE girlfriend of an aspiring musician who was shot dead in a suspected case of mistaken identity has called on people to “wake up” after a spate of murders in Camden.

Julie Krasevec said Wilson Varela, a Portuguese national, had been the love of her life.

And she revealed he had only gone out to buy some milk when he was gunned down last Sunday night in Prince of Wales Road, Kentish Town. She was speaking for the first time as detectives continued to work on three separate murder investigations following five days of horrific violence last week.

Julie, a communications student, told the New Journal this week: “I’m 21 and I feel like I’m not going to be able to live with this while we don’t know who did it. I just really want justice as well. This is the worst feeling in the world to feel like justice is not so. He’d just turned 24 and he didn’t deserve what happened to him. I just want people to talk.”

Police yesterday (Wednesday) announced a £10,000 reward for help that leads to Mr Varela’s killers. Julie had just moved to Malden Road from Paris to study at an international school in Marylebone.

Police do not believe Wilson Varela was the intended target 

“What is it going to be like in a few days, in a few years? People are just going to kill each other in the streets and that’s it?” she said. “There’s crime scenes all the time, kids getting stabbed in the street because of ‘you owe me £20’, or ‘oh you did this’ – why? This is not normal. People need to wake up, people really need to wake up. I don’t know what’s happening in their minds but this is not normal. But today, for everyone, this is so normal and I don’t understand why.”

Police say their investigations so far indicate that Mr Varela had been wrongly targeted by gang members. No one has yet been arrested and officers are still hunting two suspects on a moped who may have been hiding in Marsden Street before riding in front of Mr Varela and shooting him the chest.

He was fondly known as “Ni” to those close to him and was based in east London, where a memorial has been erected by friends at a skate park.

The couple first met on holiday in Lagos three years ago. Julie, who had been with Mr Varela for three years and whose mother is also Portuguese, is now trying to raise £7,000 to take his body back to Portugal.

Wilson Varela during his childhood and, below, at the skate park

“He was a really funny guy,” she said. “He knew everyone. Everyone knew him. He loved to skate, he is so talented.”

Mr Varela first moved to England more than a decade ago, first living in Manchester before switching to London.

He was due to start a music course at London Southbank University last week and had previously worked at Offspring in Camden Town. “He wasn’t involved in gangs or drug trafficking. He was just a guy trying to survive in London, really,” Julie said.

She woke up at 5am last Monday to see he had not returned home and thought he may have been with friends. Julie, who now plans to move back to France, said: “I thought Camden, I really like it. I thought this was a safe area and the same night another woman was stabbed and then another guy was stabbed days later. This is not something that is happening in Paris. There is violence, but this is not something that is happening.”

Julie Krasevec with Wilson Varela

In an appeal for people to speak to police, she said she believed many are “scared”, adding: “People think today that when you go to the police that you are a snitch. “his is because they are watching first a lot of movies, I think. When you know something, the right thing to do is to talk about it and speak to the right person about it. “If you saw something, if you knew someone involved in this – this is not even for me, it’s not for him, it’s for his family.”

Mr Varela’s sister, Brenda, 22, who lives in Portugal, said: “Someone needs to be responsible for this, they are out there living their lives while my brother is dead. “He will always remain what he was to us: happy, bright, special, funny, loving, independent and a positive contagious vibe.”

A tribute mural in east London

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Stancombe said: “The investigation so far indicates that the death of Wilson Alexandre Garcia Varela was a case of mistaken identity and that he was wrongly targeted by gang members.”

He added: “Wilson would have had a bright future. Instead his life is over and he leaves behind a devastated family and partner who are wondering why he was taken from them. I have no doubt whatsoever that there are people out there who know exactly who is responsible for Wilson’s death.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 020 8358 0200, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

You can also visit to pass on information anonymously. To donate to the gofundme page, visit

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