In July 2008, Shakilus Townsend was beaten and stabbed to death in South London by a six strong gang. The BBC has recently produced an excellent one hour dramatisation based on this tragedy.
For those who can receive it, My Murder is currently on iplayer. As might be deduced from the title, it is told through the eyes of the victim. Shakilus Townsend was only 16 years old, and although he had already he had already found himself in trouble with the law he was, as portrayed here, determined to put that behind him and make something of himself. The big mistake he made was falling for the wrong girl, in particular one who was, to put it bluntly, the property of someone else. Shakilus was the victim of what became known as the honey trap killing or the honey trap murder.
Although this semi-documentary is clearly intended to be a broadside at gang culture, it is possible to view it through another prism. Samantha Joseph was not your regular femme fatale, but this is a story that is older than gangs: boy meets girl; girl is already attached or promised to someone else; the rivals compete for her, and one wins, though not necessarily the best man. True, most such love triangles don't end with the good guy being murdered by a six strong gang after being led to his death by the girl concerned, but there are no winners in this story, which is made all the sadder by the fact that the relationship between Shakilus and Samantha was purely platonic. She was asked point blank by her lover if she had fucked Shakilus or given him head, and answered no both times. Who says romance is dead?
An official police photograph
An official police photograph of convicted teenage murderess Samantha Joseph.
All the killers were brought to book and received heavy sentences, including Joseph herself, who was given a tariff of ten years.
The case was prosecuted by Brian Altman QC, who twice prosecuted now convicted serial killer Levi Bellfield.
Two points should be noted here, simply from the cast - which is almost all black - there is clearly a lot of black talent out there, and like white youth it is being wasted. Instead of giving all our money to the banksters on the one hand and on the other drafting reams of “race relations legislation” - which has been making the race problem worse for decades - the British Government, and the American Government for that matter, would be better off investing directly in black youth with for example grants to start their own businesses.
The second point is, if you are prepared to do this to a brother, homeboy, why do you make so much noise about the deaths of Stephen Lawrence and Trayvon Martin?