Police fear shot mother of nine and nephew were victims of mistaken identity

The murder of a mother of nine and her nephew is feared to have been a case of mistaken identity, police said as their family paid emotional tributes to the victims.

Annie Besala Ekofo, 53, and Bervil Kalikaka-Ekofo, 21, a university student who "never looked for trouble", were gunned down at a flat in north London, on Thursday morning.

At the time of the killings four other people, including a child, were also at the property but were not harmed.

Three days after the double murder Scotland Yard said there was "no evidence to suggest Mrs Besala or Mr Kalikaka-Ekofo were the intended targets of the shooting".

Detectives appealed for information and said they are keeping an open mind as to the motive for the attack - as well as investigating whether anyone else associated with the address was the target.

Police were called by the London Ambulance Service to reports of two people injured at an address in Elmshurst Crescent, East Finchley at around 6.25am on Thursday.

On arrival officers found Mrs Besala and her nephew suffering from gunshot injuries. Both of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Kalikaka-Ekofo was studying psychology at the University of West London and was "in love with music, photography and art".

Mr Kalikaka-Ekofo's father, Patrick Ekofo, said his son "never looked for trouble".

He said: "He was always the peaceful one.

"Bervil my best friend, my pride, my everything. You have gone too soon, my first son, the person I confided in, we never had any secrets between us. We told each other everything. You were the key to my heart and soul. Bervil always loved his family more than anything."

His mother, Maymie Botamba, said her son "tried hard to achieve everything he believed he was destined for".

"Bervil was a bright, intelligent young man; he was always making people laugh," she added.

Mrs Besala was described as a "wonderful and loving mother and wife" who was "glue that kept everyone together" in a statement from her relatives.

"A daughter, a wife, a sister, a grandma, an aunty, a cousin, a best friend, a voice that was always a comfort even in the hardest situations, she has been taken away from us so suddenly and brutally. A void has been left in so many lives that will never be filled."

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Partridge from the Homicide and Major Crime Command said their relatives had been left "devastated by the loss of not one, but two members of their family".

He said: "The investigation continues at a fast pace and we have already spoken to a number of people who have come forward and provided useful information to the investigation.

"I would like to thank those witnesses, and reiterate my previous appeal for anyone who is yet to speak to us to do so as soon as possible.

"Whilst the murders took place early in the morning, I am confident that there would have been people up and about, getting ready for work and school.

"It is possible that someone may have noticed a stranger on the estate, or a vehicle that is not usually there. It may have seemed unimportant at the time, but could be vital in leading us to the person or persons who committed these brutal murders."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8358 0300, or to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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