21:03 GMT11 May 2021
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    A trial has been told how a gang drove around north London for two hours randomly attacking young men with knives. Police officers spotted four masked men in a car but were unable to prevent the mayhem, the Old Bailey heard.

    On Tuesday, September 11, prosecutor Julian Evans told a jury at the Central Criminal Court in London that Isaiah Popoola, 18 and Ben Drummond, also 18 were among a group of men who were involved in five incidents in north London between 8.15pm and 10.15pm on February 20.

    Popoola denies murdering Abdikarim Hassan, 17, and Sadiq Mohamed, 20, in separate attacks in Kentish Town on February 20 this year. Drummond has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr. Mohamed and both men deny violent disorder and wounding.

    Gang 'Switched From BMW to Van'

    In the first two attacks a silver BMW 3 Series car was involved and in the other three incidents, the gang used a dark blue Ford Transit van.

    The jury was shown a CCTV clip of the first attack in which the BMW pulled up in Aldenham Street, Kentish Town and two men in dark clothing got out and chased Yusuf Ahmed, 17, and Hamza Syed, 25, towards a block of flats. Syed was stabbed in the upper body as he hid behind some bins.

    A short while later the BMW stopped in Bartholomew Road and the two men got out and attacked Mr. Hassan, who died after being stabbed in the chest and groin.

    Mr. Evans claimed the gang, who were from the Peckwater estate in Kentish Town, carried out two more attacks on men in Hackney and Chalk Farm before they claimed another victim in Malden Road at 10.15pm.

    The van pulled up and seven masked men — all armed — got out and ran towards Suliman Mohamed and his friend Sadiq Mohamed.

    Suliman escaped through a nearby shop but Sadiq was chased by four men with knives.

    Victim Killed After Being Cornered in Car

    "Sadiq tried to seek refuge in a stationary car. He got in the back and said ‘Go, go. Drive, drive.' But the driver got out, fearing he was going to be robbed. The four men converged on the car. He was dragged outside and repeatedly stabbed," Mr. Evans said.

    He said the BMW was later found close to Mr. Popoola's house and drops of Mr. Hassan's blood were found on the bonnet and on the rear seat.

    Mr. Evans said the van was found burnt out the following morning in Ingestre Road, not far from Mr. Drummond's home.

    Defendant's Vigil Alibi

    When Popoola was arrested he gave a prepared statement in which he gave an alibi for the night of the murders — he said he was attending a vigil on the Peckwater estate for a friend who had been murdered a few days before.

    Mr. Evans told the trial plain clothes police officers had seen the silver BMW earlier in the evening and noticed four men inside, all wearing facemasks.

    They called in the registration number but the car was not spotted again until the following evening, long after Mr. Hassan had been killed.

    The trial is expected to last for several weeks.

    London has seen dozens of knife murders this year and UK politicians have sought to blame each other for cuts in police numbers and the rise in violence.



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