By Calvin Palmer
A teenage girl who lured her boyfriend to his death at the hands of a love rival and his gang was convicted of murder today at the Old Bailey, London.
Samantha Joseph, 16, led Shakilus Townsend, 16, into a quiet cul-de-sac in Thornton Heath, south London, last July, where he was beaten with baseball bats and stabbed six times by members of the Shine My Nine gang.
Joseph, who was 15 at the time, wanted to get back with her former boyfriend, gang member Danny Mclean. She had split up with Mclean 18, from Thornton Heath, shortly before she started going out with Shakilus.
McLean and five other teenagers who ambushed Townsend were also convicted of murder today.
CCTV pictures from the day of the attack show Samantha wearing a see-through floral dress as she met Shakilus and took a bus with him.
He thought they were on their way to meet her cousin but in fact she was playing a “dangerous double game” luring him to the ambush, while secretly keeping in touch with McLean by mobile phone.
Samantha, who can now be named for the first time after Judge Richard Hawkins lifted an order banning her identification, laughed as blows with fists, feet and baseball bats rained down on Shakilus before she turned and walked away.
McLean — who had himself been injured by a bat during the furious melee — plunged a knife into Townsend’s chest, raking it across his liver before twisting the blade.
As he lay bleeding to death, Shakilus called out for his mother and cried: “I don’t want to die.”
The girl was later seen walking off with McLean, carrying his hoodie and a cream-colored handbag stained with his blood.
He was wearing a bright orange bandana, the colour identifying him as a member of the Shine My Nine gang to which he and the other attackers belonged.
The girl later set about trying to “rub out” any trace of her relationship with Shakilus, deleting his online Bebo account and telling friends to erase his number from their phones.
In court she admitted agreeing to lead him into the ambush so that he could get beaten up but said she did not realise he would be seriously hurt.
But jurors rejected her explanation and she was found guilty of murder
Shakilus’ mother Nicola Dyer, 34, said her son was “smitten” with the girl and thought they would get married and start a family together.
“I can’t understand how she could have callously set him up and lured him to his death,” she said.
“Shakilus’ death was a senseless premeditated murder and nobody deserves to die in the appalling way that my son did, especially not a child,” said Dyer. Her son had been in trouble with police in the past but had been making “positive changes in his behaviour”, she said.
Detective Inspector Barney Ratcliffe said Joseph had been “cold and callous about the whole incident, with no signs of emotion”.
Ratcliffe added: “She was an integral part of what was going to happen — if she hadn’t been involved it wouldn’t have happened.”
The other teenagers convicted of murder are brothers Tyrell Ellis, 19, and Don-Carlos Ellis, 18, from Thornton Heath; Andre Johnson-Haynes, a 19-year-old former public schoolboy from Croydon who played rugby for London Irish; Andre Thompson, 17, from South Norwood; and Michael Akinfenwa, 17, from Upper Norwood.