Kwasi Mensah-Ababio murder: Territory wars in estates led to Neasden man being shot in Monks Park, court hears

Kwasi Mensah-Ababio. Picture: Met Police

Kwasi Mensah-Ababio. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Territory wars between rival gangs in Stonebridge and St Raphael’s could be central to the death of a young man shot in Monks Park, a court has heard.

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

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

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

Jurors were shown two videos - one featuring musician Mr Smalls in Stonebridge and another featuring Darren Buchanen, aka Pacman, in St Raphael's Estate.

Mr Buchanen is believed to have been the "revenge" target, and not Mr Mensah-Ababio, jurors heard.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan said gangs in the area include the "Thugs of Stonebridge" and "Usual Suspects" in Stonebridge and rivals "St Raph's/St Raph's Soldiers".

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"The world that you cared about in 2019 (…) was the world we see depicted in that video - men posturing, showing signs of strength, drugs, that was the world you cared about." Ms Morgan said, addressing Gracia at the Old Bailey on February 12.

Gracia said he "didn't get involved in that" saying other "people were doing a lot of stuff".

Jurors heard that like Rowe, Gracia was a drug dealer who sold to Craig Smalls.

Gracia "must have known" Rowe, said Ms Morgan - which the defendant denied.

She added that Gracia "must know a lot of people" and have "marked out territories".

"Protecting territories means that people get attacked doesn't it? You know that," she said.

"I don't have a territory and I don't protect a territory," he answered.

Gracia said "curiosity" led him to follow Mr Mensah-Ababio into Monks Park. "I wanted to see who he was."

Asking "who do you care who's in Monk's Park?" Ms Morgan added: "Curiosity has pulled you into the park in the same way it pulled Mr Rowe into the park (...)

"This was about territory wasn't it? It had everything to do with territory."

"It wasn't," he said.

The trial continues.