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article imageOp-Ed: Anthem for doomed youth

By Alexander Baron     May 23, 2011 in Crime
An article concerning the conviction of a 15-year-old "hit man" and the rising culture of gang violence, knife and gun murders amongst the youth of Britain.
Today, a hit man was convicted at the Central Criminal Court of the cold-blooded execution of a young woman. Hit man? When he committed this crime, Santre Sanchez Gayle was just fifteen years old.
After the murder of eighteen year old Stephen Lawrence in April 1993, Britain witnessed a massive outpouring of nonsense and hysteria over something called “institutional racism”. It was only five years later that blacks realised it can’t all be blamed on the Great White Bigot, and in 1998, Operation Trident was set up to tackle specifically black on black crime. Within two years, a ten strong intelligence gathering team had turned into a task force of a hundred and sixty officers.
The sad truth though is that the still ongoing spate of unrelated murders is not black on black, white on white, white on black, black on white, Moslem on is the youth of this country killing each other, and anyone who stands in their way.
At one time, child or even teen murderers were a rarity; with the exception of the obviously disturbed Mary Bell – who murdered two young boys in 1968 – the most notorious such case was that of Bentley and Craig. In November 1952, sixteen year old Christopher Craig shot PC Sidney Miles on the top of a Croydon warehouse, killing him instantly. The case became a cause célèbre because while Craig was too young to hang, his accomplice wasn’t, and did.
The case of Thompson and Venables was truly horrific, but in recent years we have seen a seemingly never ending procession of senseless crimes by kids often too young to shave involving knives and even guns in a country where handguns are to all intents and purposes illegal.
In January 2003, friends eighteen year old Charlene Ellis and seventeen year old Leticia Shakespeare were shot in Birmingham, innocent victims caught by machine gun fire aimed at someone else, like something out of 1930s Chicago.
In August 2007, eleven year old Rhys Jones was shot dead in Liverpool; his killer was sixteen years old.
In May 2008, seventeen year old Sharmaarke Hassan was shot dead in Camden, North London; he was said to have been the 15th teenage murder victim in London so far that year.
The latest such killing involved a contract on a twenty-six year old woman who was murdered for the paltry sum of £200. The murder was captured on CCTV; it has since been revealed that Santre Sanchez Gayle is the half-brother of Donnel Carty, one of the youths convicted of the murder of Tom ap Rhys Pryce in November 2006. This was another very high profile case in which a young lawyer was killed for a travel card and a mobile phone; at the time of his death, he was engaged to be married. His parents and his law firm set up a trust in his memory to combat gang violence.
The parents of Tom ap Rhys Pryce aren’t the only ones who have decided to tackle the culture of youth violence head on. Others include Richard Taylor, the father of ten year old Damilola Taylor who died in bizarre circumstances in 2000; he and his wife (now deceased) also set up a trust in their late son’s memory, as did the family of sixteen year old Ben Kinsella, the brother of actress Brooke Kinsella, who has appeared inter alia in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. To date, they appear to be fighting a losing battle.
Gayle and his accomplice 21 year old Izak Billy will be sentenced tomorrow; they can expect very long sentences indeed.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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