UK
08/02/2012 05:21 GMT

Agnes Sina-Inakoju's Brother Urges Gang Members To Come Forward

The brother of a "bright and beautiful" teenager gunned down in a takeaway two years ago has urged gang members to help prevent more deaths by coming forward with information.

Abiola Adesina, 33, is from one of a number of families affected by gun crime who are supporting a new initiative launched by the Metropolitan Police today to tackle gangs in London.

His sister Agnes Sina-Inakoju was 16 when she was shot dead in a takeaway in Hoxton, east London, in April 2010.

Today, the Metropolitan Police announced a unit set up to tackle gun crime in black communities, Operation Trident, is to lead an anti-teenage gang initiative in the capital.

Around 1,000 dedicated officers will be working in 19 boroughs across the city to tackle gang crime and to divert young people away from these groups, a spokeswoman for the Met said.

Mr Adesina, who has recently moved away from London to Northampton after 14 years, welcomed the new initiative and said he hoped it would help to prevent more families from going through the pain he had endured since Agnes's death.

"If someone in a gang can talk to someone and if they can be convinced that what they're doing is wrong and if they can give up being in gang ... at least we protect him from himself and protect other families from him because you never know what is going to happen.

"In movies the bad things always catch up with the bad guys. They live life fine for a few years. People in gangs should be asked whether they want this. Do they want to live fine for a few years and then be destroyed for the rest of their life or killed? Do they actually think about their friends, their family, their parents? Do they know what effect that will have on them?

"Children learn their boundaries as they grow. They will do things once and, if you don't stop them, they'll do it again."

Describing the moment he found out about his sister's death, Mr Adesina said: "I was watching TV and I heard on the news that someone had been shot in Hoxton and the first thing that came into my head was, 'oh my god, that was very close to my house'.

"There were no pictures or names ... then a few minutes later someone called me and said, 'I'm sorry about your sister'.

"My mum hadn't called me to tell me the news straight away. We were told she was going to be fine."

Agnes, a schoolgirl hoping to go to Oxford University, was gunned down when she went to buy a pizza at the Hoxton Chicken and Pizza Shop. She was the innocent victim of gang fighting when Leon Dunkley and Mohammed Smoured, members of the London Fields gang, decided to target the shop believing members of the rival Hoxton Boys would be there.

Agnes, who would have turned 18 this September, was taken to hospital but died two days later.

Last year, gunman Dunkley, 22, and look-out Smoured, 21, were jailed for life with minimum terms of 32 years each for her murder.

A third gang member was spared jail after he gave key evidence against the killers.

Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London, said that in the "exceptional" circumstances he would instead make a three-year youth rehabilitation order despite the youngster admitting gun and drug offences.

He said if jurors had not believed the witness's evidence "those men would not be serving the sentences that they are today".

Mr Adesina said: "These kids, most of the young ones, are being pressured to do things they're not meant to do, that they don't even want to do, but it's either you do it, and you believe you're being protected by the people who are pressuring you, or you don't do it and you get isolated, you get beaten up, you get threatened.

"Once he (the youth) realised those people had been arrested, he knew he could tell the police whatever he needed to tell them."

Urging others in gangs to come forward, Mr Adesina said: "Tell the police or your parents or tell people you know can protect you, and then you are at no risk of being killed or going to prison.

"When those people who use these children, when they are arrested, I believe others should come forward and say, 'this is what I know'.

"If we don't encourage them to do that, then they'll keep quiet."

Praising the Met for their support during the investigation into Agnes's murder, he said officers needed to go after the gang's leaders to break the cycle.

"The police acted very swiftly. I was very impressed with the speed of their investigation and the arrests. I wasn't expecting it to be that quick.

"These gang leaders know if they do things themselves they'll go straight to prison, but if they use these kids to do their dirty work they'll be able to sit somewhere safe from the view of the police.

"Mostly the people police arrest are the kids they use. As soon as they're out of the way, they'll get new ones to replace them, but if they (the leaders) are out of the way it will break the cycle."

Paying tribute to his sister, Mr Adesina added: "Agnes was a very bright and beautiful young girl with a lot of friends.

"She's the type of person that would be in a room and everyone would notice because she would make you laugh - she was a hit everywhere she went.

"The moments we shared with her will always remain with us as a family.

"Life doesn't mean life for them (Dunkley and Smoured) so they still know they're going to come out one day. For me and for my family it's a life sentence.

"It's something you don't get over. You can lead your life as good as you can, but there is always something that will remind you."