Harlesden: Playboy’s killers are sent to jail
A STAR footballer who murdered his childhood friend when he blasted him in a revenge killing has been jailed for at least 25 years. Former Millwall striker, Gavin Grant, 25, executed Leon Labastide, also known as Playboy, in the street outside his moth
A STAR footballer who murdered his childhood friend when he blasted him in a revenge killing has been jailed for at least 25 years.
Former Millwall striker, Gavin Grant, 25, executed Leon Labastide, also known as 'Playboy,' in the street outside his mother's home in Mordaunt Road, Harlseden in 2004, an Old Bailey Jury heard.
Grant, who last played for League Two side Bradford, was convicted after a woman who was known in court by the alias 'Susan Norwich' described how Grant and his friend Gareth Downie, 26, were encouraged to shoot Leon Labastide by their cousin Damien Williams, 33.
All three men were jailed for life with a minimum of 25 years each behind bars before being considered for parole.
In a victim impact statement, Leon Labastide's mother Diane Havill said: "As a family all of Leon's relatives feel an immense sense of loss. Every day when I wake I am forced to return to the reality of the night when Leon was taken from us and the violent way in which it happened.
"I make no claims that Leon was an angel and did no wrong. His senseless killing by so-called friends who grew up with him has left it hard to understand the futility of snatching Leon's future away while at the same time destroying their own."
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Grant was arrested at the time of the killing but was not charged until Britain's first black-on-black supergrass, Darren Mathurin, who was convicted of conspiracy to murder, agreed to help police in return for a cut in his sentence.
But Mathurin did not give evidence after being discredited during the first trial last year.
As the sentence was handed down Williams shouted 'Fight' while friends and relatives became enraged, with one woman shouting: 'You framed my son and I'm going to expose you' while another screamed: 'It's all fixed,' before security guards cleared the court.
The Recorder of London, Peter Beaumont, QC, said: "Leon Labastide was no angel but the facts of his death permit no conclusion but that he was executed by shooting, shot in the back while he was on the phone standing outside his parents' house in a suburban street on a Sunday evening.
"Not a random killing but a killing decided because rightly or wrongly he was perceived to be a target in a tit-for-tat series of incidents that at that moment called for revenge."
Detectives believe the murder of Leon Labastide and the gangland 'tit-for-tat' war began with a trivial motorcycle accident on the Stonebridge Estate in Mordaunt Road, Harlesden, on May 22, 2004.
Police were called to Mordaunt Road at 10.30pm the following day and found Leon Labastide, 21, had been shot.