|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives|
WPC Shooting Suspects Linked To Somali Gangs
Billy Jagger, the father of murdered woman police officer Sharon Beshenivsky, visits the scene of the shooting
London , UK , November 22, 2005 (The Times ) – THE suspects being questioned over the shooting of a woman police officer are believed to be members of a 20-strong drugs gang that has been linked to a series of armed robberies across London .
Detectives investigating the murder of WPC Sharon Beshenivsky are believed to have linked the Somali gang with a silver 4x4 vehicle in which the three robbers made their escape.
Police were last night granted more time to question four men and one woman over the shootings last Friday afternoon. The five, several of whom are believed to be asylum-seekers, were arrested in southeast London on Saturday.
A sixth man being held in connection with the shooting remains in police custody as his initial period of detention for questioning has not expired.
It was revealed yesterday that West Yorkshire detectives are still in London and working closely with the Metropolitan Police in an attempt to track down the associates of those already in custody.
Further arrests are expected in the coming days as police seek to establish who was using the vehicle on the day of the murder.
WPC Beshenivsky, 38, a student officer who was married with three children and two stepchildren, was fatally shot in the chest when the robbers burst out of the travel agent’s as she approached the premises on Friday afternoon.
Her colleague, WPC Teresa Milburn, was shot in the shoulder but was released from hospital on Sunday.
The dead officer’s father, Billy Jagger, visited the murder scene yesterday and choked back tears as he left a yellow bouquet “to a beloved daughter who will be sadly missed”.
Last night a nephew of the owner of the raided travel agency revealed that less than £2,000 was stolen by the robbers. Mohammed Ishaque said that Mohammed Yousef, his uncle, had banked the week’s takings earlier in the day.
Mr. Ishaque told The Sun how the raid unfolded. “Mr. Yousef told me the Asian guy came in first and spoke in Punjabi, asking about flights to Pakistan and the exchange rate of the Pakistani rupee,” he said.
“His two black mates stood behind him and did not say anything. Then all of a sudden they jumped behind the desk and pulled out weapons. One of the black robbers and the Asian one were carrying guns while the third had a machete.”
As they fled the robbers “ran out firing like cowboys in a Wild West movie”, he said.
More details emerged yesterday of the dramatic police operation, involving hundreds of specialist officers, which led to Saturday’s arrests in Plumstead, southeast London .
West Yorkshire detectives flew south by helicopter to join teams from the CO19 firearms unit, the armed Flying Squad, the Territorial Support Group and the Specialist Crime Directorate.
At 7.20am , 16 hours after the Bradford robbery, the silver getaway vehicle was ambushed outside a shop on a busy main road. One witness said: “I heard screaming from outside my house. I looked out of my window and saw a silver 4x4 surrounded by police pointing machineguns.”
The car’s two occupants — a Somali man and a white woman — were arrested. Five hours later three more Somali men were seized when more than 30 armed police stormed a nearby house. The sixth person to be detained, an Asian man, was arrested on Saturday evening.
All six — five aged in their 20s and one in his early 30s — are being held at separate police stations in West Yorkshire .
Somali gangs are known to be increasingly active in the gun-running trade across Europe and have smuggled weapons into Britain in addition to trafficking drugs and people
Rival gangs of Somali youths are still based on clan loyalties from their war-torn homeland in East Africa , even though many of the new generation of gunmen were born in Britain
They often adopt the street names of fighters from Mogadishu and internecine battles between rival Somali groups in this country are rooted in grudges from a country that most have never visited