Inquest jury criticises Scotland Yard over murder at funeral of gang member


Scotland Yard has been criticised by a jury for failings related to the death of an innocent young man who was murdered at a gang member's funeral.

An inquest into the killing of 21-year-old Azezur "Ronnie" Khan heard police failed to send officers to the funeral - despite warnings that violence could erupt.

A respected mentor at his local mosque, Mr Khan died from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen in November 2011, shortly after leaving the graveside of his friend Joel Morgan at a cemetery on Forest Hill Road, Southwark, south London.

Mr Morgan, who was killed in a car crash, had belonged to the GAS gang, based in Lambeth.

His mother had requested that police attend the funeral because it was in a patch controlled by two rival gangs, the Peckham Young Guns and the Peckham Boys, but no officers were assigned.

At Southwark Coroner's Court on Tuesday, an inquest jury concluded structural and strategic failings in policing "hindered" an effective plan from being implemented.

Returning a narrative verdict, a jury spokesman said the force had failed to recognise "that you don't need a named perpetrator and named victim for there to be a threat to life".

They added: "Communication errors were prevalent within the Met Police Service. There was a lack of information, a dilution of information, a failure to flag up different boroughs, a failure to record verbal information and appropriate assignments for tasking.

"Whilst the service officers understood their responsibility, they failed to liaise and delegate with team members to ensure that the policing plan was carried out correctly.

"The implemented plan was inappropriate as it was informal given the circumstances.

"Although Southwark had a policing plan, it was inadequate as they failed to investigate their responsibilities as a borough.

"If all relevant information regarding the funeral and gang activities were linked, the Metropolitan Police Service would have put in place a different policing plan, raising the level to either a higher risk or critical.

"If there was a visible police presence at or in the vicinity of the burial service, it may have deterred gang members."