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Teenage boy found guilty of killing Yasir Beshira in ‘assassination’ on Kilburn High Road

Two found guilty of murder and one of manslaughter

23 October, 2017 — By William McLennan

The boy’s accomplices: Sammi Tesfazgi, left, and Rilind Tahiri were also convicted    

A 16-year-old boy who shot a man dead on a busy shopping street in a gangland “assassination” has been found guilty of murder today (Monday) at the end of a two-month trial.

The teenager, who can not be named because of his age, was convicted of killing Yasir Beshira in Kilburn High Road on December 8 last year.

One of his accomplices, 21-year-old Sammi Tesfazgi, of Lithos Road, West Hampstead, was also found guilty of murder this afternoon for his part in the shooting. Rilind Tahiri, 22, of North Road, Islington, was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

A jury at the Old Bailey heard that while it was the teenager who had pulled the trigger, Tahiri had driven him to and from the scene in a stolen Range Rover, while Tesfazgi, who sat in the passenger seat, was said to have been the “mastermind of an assassination”.
A tribute to Mr Beshira, left, who was known as “Loopy”

Mr Beshira, who was operating as a low-level drug dealer in the area, was lured to a side street next to a branch of Nandos, where the teenage gunman was lying in wait beside a bin.

At around 5:20pm, he stepped forward and shot Mr Beshira once in the stomach, before sprinting away and climbing back into the getaway car, which was later found burnt out in Cricklewood.

Mr Beshira, who was known as Loopy, made it a few metres before collapsing outside Ellie’s Café in Kilburn High Road. Efforts to resuscitate him, including attempts at life-saving surgery on the pavement, failed and he was pronounced dead shortly before 6:30pm.

Shell casings found at the scene linked the killers to another shooting

Police have never been able to definitively say what the motive was for the killing. The jury were told that in the days before, Mr Beshira, who had worked as a runner for drug gang, had let it be known that he was setting up shop on his own. Prosecutor Brian O’Neill said at the start of the trial in August that it “may well be the case that his decision to go it alone was the reason he was murdered”.

However, the jury was later told that it could have been the result of a falling out between Mr Beshira and Tesfazgi, who referred to the dead man as his “cousin”. No evidence of this dispute was put before the jury.

While the murder weapon has never been found, forensic examination of shell casings found at the scene in Kilburn High Round found that the same gun had also been used in a shooting in Prince of Wales Road, Kentish Town, on September 29 last year.

The jury was told that Tesfazgi was responsible for the shooting, having taken “the law into his own hands” after himself being shot as he sat in a parked car in Fellows Road just eight days earlier.

Police used mobile phone signals and CCTV cameras to retrace the movements of the trio as they drove to and from the killing on December 8.

Tim Clark QC, defending Tesfazgi, had told the jury that rather than prove his client’s guilt, the fact he was using his phone proved he was not experienced criminal that the prosecution had alleged.

He said: “This is a phone he had made taxi bookings with. He knew this phone could be linked to him.”

He asked the jury: “Is that consistent with the Crown’s case of a forensically aware mastermind of an assassination?”

The defendants had protested their innocence throughout the trial, claiming they had driven to the Webheath Estate behind Kilburn High Road to buy £600 worth of cannabis and had no involvement with Mr Beshira’s death.

Today, after nine days of dileberations, the jury dismissed these claims. They will be sentenced on November 27.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Partridge, who led the team of murder detectives that cracked the case, said: “This shocking attack was carried out during rush hour in a very busy residential location. I want to thank those members of the public who came forward to try and save Yasir after he was shot and those who greatly assisted the police investigation. I understand that nothing will bring Yasir back to his family, but hope that the verdicts given today will bring a measure of comfort to his family and friends.

“This was a complex and protracted investigation and these convictions serve to remind those planning such violent attacks on our streets that they will be pursued and brought to justice for their actions.”

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