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Killers are found guilty of killing Jahmel Jones in Southamton flat
THREE men are facing life behind bars over the execution-style killing of a Hampshire father.
Jahmel Jones was shot dead in a "cold-blooded" murder by Pierre Lewis, Jemmikai Orlebar Forbes, and Isaac Boateng - while the university lecturer girlfriend of one of them helped them avoid arrest.
Today the three men are facing life behind bars after being found guilty of luring Mr Jones to a city centre flat in St Mary's and there, shooting him dead.
They tried to claim it was Lucky who drew the gun demanding cash in an attempted robbery but was on the receiving end of two fatal shots – in the arm and head – following a tussle with Orlebar Forbes.
But jurors at Winchester Crown Court saw through their lies after spending three days considering their verdicts.
Amid violent scenes just hours before the verdicts were passed, the trio were involved in a fight with security guards in the court cells, which led to two guards being taken to hospital by ambulance.
The three men were not present in the dock when the jurors returned verdicts.
The calculated gang was assisted by criminology lecturer and PhD student Rachel Kenehan, who hired cars to facilitate their drugs enterprise, drove them to London in the hours after the killing, and tried to dispose of vital clothing evidence.
Internet searches made on her laptop before the shooting included references to “Southampton crack”, while terms keyed in after the murder referred to how to dispose of weapons.
She too was found unanimously guilty on eight charges, including assisting an offender, perverting the course of justice, and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Kenehan sat on her own in the dock with her head bowed to the floor as the verdicts were returned.
All four will be sentenced on Monday.
The guilty verdicts were welcomed by Mr Jones’ family and Hampshire Constabulary’s major investigation team.
The shocking shooting, that gripped the entire St Mary’s community, unfolded at just after 11am on April 20 last year.
Emergency crews from across Southampton raced to the flat to reports that a young man had been seriously injured following an altercation.
Mr Jones, 23, lay dying in a pool of blood in the hallway and paramedics took no time in getting to work, moving him into an ambulance.
Attempts to resuscitate him continued but he died soon after arriving at Southampton General Hospital.
As reported by the Daily Echo, a local Scouts group had to cancel its St George’s Day parade and police officers spent the following days reassuring the community.
Detectives launched a murder inquiry and enlisted the help of the Metropolitan Police after investigations revealed his murder was linked to drug gangs in the capital.
CCTV images were released of three men in hooded jumpers, despite it being an unusually hot day, walking casually in the St Mary’s area of Southampton in the moments leading up to the shooting.
Their efforts led to the eventual arrests of Lewis, of Barnes, Boateng, of Hounslow, and Orlebar Forbes, of Bahlham – a rival drugs gang dealing crack cocaine and heroin in the city through a mobile phone-based dealing line called the Jumbo network.
Lewis, 20, was arrested in the Richmond area of south west London days later along with 25-year-old Kenehan, who was his girlfriend and former prison mentor.
Boateng, 22, was arrested at his home in Hounslow a day later while Orlebar Forbes, 20, was the last to be arrested in Plumstead, south east London, on April 30.
It emerged the gang had been selling drugs in Southampton from March with the assistance of Kenehan, who hired more than 20 cars – at a cost of £4,000 – since December 2012 for them to use to transport crack cocaine and heroin between the two cities.
The court heard how the enterprise had earned the gang around £20,000, which was found in a safe belonging to Boateng.
During this period, a number of speeding penalties were racked up by Lewis, who was not qualified to drive, and Kenehan took the points on his behalf.
Police inquiries following the fatal shooting found a drugs turf war between the Jumbo network and Mr Jones had emerged on the streets of St Mary’s after the gang was robbed by another group linked to Mr Jones days before his brutal murder.
The trio had stayed at a number of properties in the area and the court heard how they travelled back to London on April 19 to collect a gun before returning to Southampton.
They spent the night at a flat in Northam. The following morning, an agitated Mr Jones was in contact with his friend Sade Thompson to get in touch with an acquaintance known as “Doggsy”, as he sensed a confrontation with Lewis, Orlebar Forbes and Boateng.
CCTV images showed the three men scouring St Mary Street and nearby roads as they hunted for Lucky, before ending up at 69 St Mary Street at a flat owned by drug users Derek Saunders and Susan Moran.
Mr Jones sought the help of Mr Hoitt, who was loitering on St Mary Street, for back-up minutes before the shooting and they made their way into the building after being beckoned from the window.
The pair got to the flat and opened the door but moments later Orlebar Forbes emerged from a corner and fired the two fatal shots.
In evidence, Mr Hoitt said the gun was pulled on him but no shots were fired and Lewis, Orlebar Forbes and Boateng fled the flat.
They returned to Northam by foot where they caught a taxi to Basingstoke to seek refuge with a friend and set about changing their clothes – all while Mr Jones lay dead in hospital.
The gang were later picked up by Kenehan and taken to her home in Hewlett Road, Bow, to hide out.
But police soon caught up with them and all four were arrested within five days of the shooting.
They now face years behind bars when Hon Justice Keith hands down his sentences on Monday.
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