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Kwasi Mensah-Ababio murder: Alleged killer accuses fellow defendant of pulling the trigger that killed Neasden man

PUBLISHED: 11:33 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:26 12 February 2020

Kwasi Mensah-Ababio. Picture: Met Police

Kwasi Mensah-Ababio. Picture: Met Police

Archant

One of the alleged killers of a Neasden man who was shot in the head in Monks Park has accused a fellow defendant of pulling the trigger.

Kwasi Mensah-Ababio was found slumped on a park bench in Monks Park with a gun shot wound to his head on July 7.

In what is alleged to be a gang-related "revenge" murder, the 26-year-old, was killed two days after rapper Craig Richard Smalls, known as "Smallz" was shot in the head on the Harrow Road.

Rene Montaque, 25, of Edgware, Taalib Rowe, 25, from Luton, Karlos Gracia, 23 and Alhassan Jalloh, 21, both of Stonebridge Park all deny murder.

Montaque's defence lawyer, Brian St Louis QC, cross examining Gracia, said: "You say you were next to Mr Montaque when he shot Kwasi Mensah-Ababio?"

Gracia said "yes," and Mr St Louis said: "It must have been terrifying."

Gracia responded: "More than terrifying, it's why I ran."

Montaque had "chosen not to come" to the court on Tuesday and Judge Dhir QC told jurors "not to hold his absence against him".

The court heard Mr Mensah-Ababio had been in the Costcutters in Harrow Road on July 7 near the shrine set up in memory of Mr Smalls and "seen" by Gracia who was there with Jalloh.

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Throughout the day the defendants visited Mr Small's home where his family was grieving.

Taking Gracia's testimony from previously signed defence documents, Mr St Louis said Gracia was "in a mood to confront and possibly assault anyone you believed to be responsible for the shooting of Craig Small".

Gracia said: "I was upset and I was angry. I didn't want to kill anyone, I didn't have the intention to hurt anyone seriously."

In defence documents Gracia previously said growing up in the area he knew "members and associates" of both gangs Thugs of Stonebridge (TOS) and rival group St Raph's, believed to be at the centre of both murders, "but didn't join either".

He told jurors his friend Jalloh, was "not in a gang" and that he "couldn't remember" any conversation about Mr Smalls's death.

He said he had "heard rumours...unfounded" that TOS were seeking revenge for the alleged attack by St Raphs gang although "people who are TOS might".

Mr St Louis said: "It must have been clear in your mind and not a coincidence that Kwasi Mensah_Ababio was shot in the head."

He suggested the murder "was a direct revenge attack for the shooting of your friend Mr Smalls because of his membership" of the Stonebridge gang.

"What you are trying to say is incorrect," said Gracia.

The trial continues.

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