Daniel Omari Smith murder: £20,000 reward to find killers of Queen’s Park electrician
- Credit: Archant
The mother of a young electrician who was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity is hoping a £20,000 reward from police will bring information forward.
Daniel Omari Smith, from Queen's Park, was shot in the back as he left the KFC fast food restaurant in Harrow Road, Paddington, on May 21, 2010, after a meal out with a work colleague.
The 22-year-old had just called his older sister asking her to place an order and was returning to his friend's car when he was gunned down.
Police believe the intended victim had gone into the KFC shop minutes earlier.
Four men were acquitted of his murder at the Old Bailey in July 2012. A further eight people have been released with no further action.
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Now, in a desperate push to dismantle the wall of silence around Daniel's killing, a £20,000 reward has been released for any information that leads to a conviction.
"One of the good things when Daniel passed was that I didn't necessarily have to speak for him because the community did," his grieving mother Winnie told the Times this week.
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"He wasn't just a good person at home - he was in the community as well.
"The killers have been protected and from that perspective I've been let down by it because people know who has done it but for whatever reason - that I can understand as well, for their own safety - they probably feel reluctant to come forward and do the right thing.
"But we're hoping that as time's gone by people would have viewed things differently.
"You wake up every morning to another killing, another stabbing. People are outraged and we just hope that it will carve at somebody's heart and they'll think: 'OK, I have this information, and maybe I can make a difference.'"
"Sparky Dan", as he was affectionately called, was born three months prematurely, weighing only 2lbs, on March 19, 1988. When he was two, his mum took him to Jamaica for six months where he grew and his health improved.
He attended St Mary's Catholic Primary School in East Row, Kensal Green, followed by Newman Catholic College, in Harlesden Road, where he is still remembered today through the Safe Haven campaign allowing threatened pupils to seek refuge in shops.
He graduated from the College of North West London where the electrical department now has an annual Daniel Omari Smith Award for outstanding students.
"His early years were really difficult - and that was something that was quite difficult for me when he passed," said Winnie.
"I spent those early years nurturing him and he grew up and someone just thought it was alright just to take his life the way they did. That's hard."
He and his sister, a year older, were so close people thought they were twins. "They shared everything," said Winnie. "At the end of each day they shared whatever had gone on throughout the day with great excitement.
"You've never seen two kids with such joy. She was a teacher, he was an electrican, and would go into these people's homes and people would take a shine to him. He'd come home full of excitement. He had zest for life. He loved what he did - he just had great passion. He was just a great child."
His sister was waiting up for him when he called her asking if she wanted some food from KFC.
When she called back minutes later having changed her mind, there was no answer.
"I imagine a gut feeling," said Winnie. "She came in my room and said: 'I think there's something wrong - Daniel's not answering the phone.'" The pair raced to KFC and were held back by a cordon where they were later told the agonising truth.
In 2010, Winnie set up the Daniel Omari Smith Trust and it has held gospel concerts, a dinner dance and a charity bike ride.
It also has strong links with Newman Catholic College and the College of North West London.
"We've helped students who were struggling financially and we also pay for mentors within the college," said Winnie.
She added: "I'm very proud of Daniel - he was an amazing man. I wish I could fight more for justice for him but I don't know where to turn.
"I owe it to him and I owe it to my family and that's why we're looking to the community to do the right thing and come forward."
Det Insp Justin Howick, of the Met's murder squad, said: "We hope that the reward, available to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest, charge and conviction of those responsible, will encourage anyone who can help to come forward."