When I was 22 I had just graduated with a surprisingly good degree and was hitchhiking across Canada. An adult life of at least fifty years stretched before me. When Akeem Moore from nearby Croydon was 22 he already had three children under four, a possible career as a rapper and a few months to live.
A party in Croydon, a sprawling South London suburb last October had spilled onto the street. Laughing, no doubt smoking and jiving, folks were having a good time. Why not? It was 11.25, Friday night. But there is a full stop, a gun man appears, puts his shot gun to Akeem’s head and pulls the executioners trigger. The gunman fires again, runs off and the laughter turns to screams . Few doubt that this was a gang land killing. Some reports mention an earlier incident of “dis”. Typically rapper Akeem stage name,Tugzy(see link) was also described as a “promising footballer”.
Certainly he was popular, Smoke Zillah launched an on line appeal and 145 contributed £3285 for his funeral and head stone. His mother hoped that her “baby prince Akeem’s soul would rest in perfect peace.” His partner and mother of his son reported “her heart was broken.”
The police pulled in 36 year old Benjamin Wallace. Not least they had the testament of his girlfriend that on that fateful night he asked her to wash his tracksuit clean of the “boy’s brains”. She also said that Wallace had offered £5000 for Moore’s murder. Telephone evidence put Wallace in the murder area.
But last week in court she said she had made up her story for “vengeful” reasons and anyway that night she was with “another lover”. End of witness credibility, end of case, Wallace who had spent six months on remand thanked the judge after he recorded a not guilty verdict.
So three more kids grow up without a father. At least two single mums face a life time of struggle. Moore’s aunt says,” Akeem’s children are still very young. They don’t understand what happened. They think their father is playing football in heaven and all they want to do is play with him up there.”
No such tosh will be talked at my funeral, but then I was never a promising footballer and my mother wont be burying me.