Mother of girl killed in drive-by shooting shocked that gun used in other murder

The mother of a 17-year-old girl killed in a drive-by shooting has spoken of her shock after learning that the gun had been used in another murder.

Tanesha Melbourne-Blake was socialising with friends when she was shot dead in Tottenham, north London, in April 2018.

A month earlier, 20-year-old Joseph Williams-Torres was killed in a case of mistaken identity in Walthamstow, east London, with the same gun, police said.

Although the Metropolitan Police say there is no suggestion the two murders are linked, forensic tests on the bullet recovered from Tanesha’s body found that the same handgun was used.

It is believed it was a “gun for hire” which had been circulating in north London for at least a year and could have been passed around, Detective Chief Inspector Neil John said.

When asked how she felt on discovering the gun had been used in another murder, Tanesha’s mother fought back tears and said: “It’s quite shocking. It is.”

She said she wanted to remain anonymous because she “could be walking on the street past the person that’s done this”.

Tanesha, who had aspirations of working in prisons and helping troubled youths, had no gang affiliations, her mother said.

“She was like my handbag basically, we were always in touch. She would always call me – you’d think she was the mum because every half an hour to an hour she would ask me, ‘Mum, where are you, what you doing’.”

She added that during the first few months after Tanesha’s death, she thought she could handle the pain but eventually got counselling.

Tanesha Melbourne-Blake murder
Tanesha Melbourne-Blake murder

Asked whether these sessions helped her, she said: “No, not really. I don’t think counselling could ever help someone going through losing their child. You would never expect to ever have to bury your child before yourself.”

Her youngest daughter also had counselling and mentoring despite being “only young”.

“It was very hard for me when it happened – to go in my daughter’s room. It was just all the memories and everything. It took me a while to actually go in my child’s bedroom. Which I think is very sad.”

Tanesha was shot dead on Chalgrove Road at about 9.35pm on April 2 by a gunman in a silver Vauxhall Meriva people carrier.

The mentor to younger teenagers, who had seven siblings and half-siblings, died at the scene and the car, with the registration KS56 NKG, was found torched in Barnet, north London, five days later.

The Met believes there were at least two people inside the vehicle and at least two more shots were fired into the street.

The suspected gunman is described as a black male with a slit in his eyebrow, and wore black clothing, including black gloves.

Tanesha Melbourne-Blake murder
Tanesha Melbourne-Blake murder

The Czech-made Browning handgun, with its serial number removed, was discovered wrapped in a towel inside a bag by a member of the public on Tudor Close in Highgate, north London, in May 2018.

DCI John said: “We know that it was used on five occasions at least.

“Four of which were in east London and one in north London, and out of those two innocent members of the public have lost their lives.”

There have been five arrests made as part of the investigation into Tanesha’s death.

A 30-year-old man, an 18-year-old man and a 22-year-old man all arrested on suspicion of murder have been released under investigation pending further inquiries.

A 50-year-old man and 26-year-old man were arrested and subsequently released with no further action.