Two men convicted of murder - Milton Keynes


Two men have today, Thursday, 10 January 2013, been found guilty at Luton Crown Court of the murders of two young men in Milton Keynes.

Fuad Awale, aged 25, of Cranesbill Place, Conniburrow, and Sharmake Abdulkadir, aged 22, of The Fleet, Springfield, were found guilty of two counts of murder by a jury following a trial at Luton Crown Court.

Abdulkadir was also found guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.

A third man, Yahya Harun, aged 22, of Fishermead Boulevard, was found not guilty on all counts.

Mohamed Abdi Farah, aged 19, and his friend Amin Ahmed Ismail, aged 18, were fatally shot in an alleyway off Fishermead Boulevard just after 10.10pm on Thursday, 26 May 2011.

Mohamed was shot once in the head and died at the scene, while Amin received two gunshot wounds to the head and died at Milton Keynes General Hospital the following afternoon.

Mohamed, who met Amin in Somalia in 2010, had been staying at his cousin's house in Milton Keynes the night before the shooting, while Amin was staying at a property in Gurnards Avenue.

On the evening of the shootings, Mohamed, Amin, and Mohamed's younger cousin were captured on CCTV leaving the Xscape complex. At about 9.50pm, Mohamed's cousin left the two friends alone.

During the trial, an eyewitness told the jury they saw a group of five men arguing with two other men in the alleyway off Fishermead Boulevard, before hearing two shots and then the two men falling down.

Other witnesses identified the defendants as being at the scene of the shootings, which was further corroborated by CCTV footage taken from a nearby off-licence.

The jury also heard from several witnesses who heard two gunshots coming from the alleyway. A third shot came about five minutes later and can be heard on the recording of a 999 call made to police.

The murder weapon, a 7.65mm 32 auto calibre self-loading pistol, was found by a police dog following a separate incident in the Penryn Avenue area on 01 July 2011.

When the weapon was forensically examined it was found to match the firearm used to kill Mohamed and Amin, as two spent bullet casings and a bullet had been found at the scene of the murders. Abdulkadir's DNA was also found on the weapon.

Other items found at the murder scene included a Hennessy Cognac bottle and an Evian water bottle with fingerprints on it matching Abdulkadir's.

Abdulkadir was captured on CCTV buying the cognac at the off-licence at 9.40pm on the night of the shootings.

During police interviews following their initial arrest in June 2011, Awale answered no comment throughout, while Abdulkadir denied he was involved in the shootings before declining to comment further.

The defendants were bailed and re-arrested in early July following the discovery of the murder weapon.

When he was re-interviewed Abdulkadir, whose DNA profile was obtained from the weapon, denied ever handling a gun and said he had never seen the gun used in the shootings. Awale refused to answer any further questions. They were subsequently charged with both murders.

During the police inquiry, it was discovered that that Awale had fired the gun. In addition, Abdulkadir had told his mother he was also at the scene of the shootings when she visited him in prison after he was charged.

Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched. This case involved the deliberate shooting of two young men at point blank range.

"CCTV and DNA evidence were crucial to this case. At the trial the defendants blamed each other for the murders, but the jury found Fuad Awale and Sharmake Abdulkadir guilty of the murders despite their denials. The CPS praises the strength and courage of all the witnesses who gave evidence during the trial.

"As a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved for the victims and their family and friends. We hope that the convictions will in some way help them come to terms with this tragic event and move forward with their lives.

"However, we acknowledge that nothing can make up for the loss felt by the family and friends of the victims and our thoughts are very much with them at this time."

Following today's convictions, Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Superintendent Rob Mason said: "The murders of Mohamed and Amin were both senseless and indefensible. They were two young men with their lives ahead of them, but tragically their lives were brought to a premature end in the most brutal of ways.

"My thoughts are very much with the families of Mohamed and Amin, who have not only had to deal with the deaths of their loved ones, but have endured the wait for justice to prevail. They have shown bravery and great dignity throughout the police investigation and the trial and I would like to thank them for their unwavering support of our inquiry.

"This has been a long and complex investigation for which the motive of the killings may never be known.

"There is no doubt that the shootings had a big impact on the Fishermead community. Incidents of this magnitude are thankfully rare, but when they happen they naturally cause fear and concern among the local community. I would like to thank the Fishermead community for their support of the police investigation, as well as all the witnesses who have given statements or evidence in this case."

The men will be sentenced at Luton Crown Court tomorrow, Friday, 11 January 2013.