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Two Ghanaian Brothers Jailed For Life In UK   
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Two teenage Ghanaian brothers residing in the United Kingdom with their parents have been jailed for life by a court in London after finding them guilty of the murder of another teenager. They were part of a gang of six who murdered an innocent army cadet and a model pupil Shaquille Smith, 14. George Amponsah, 19 and his brother Freddie Amponsah, 17 together with the others will be in jail for a minimum of 18 years each before being considered for parole. The Ghanaians were key members of a knife-wielding gang in Hackney in the Eastern part of London, the court was told.

The other members of the gang who were sentenced together with the brothers are 'Savaloy' Dufeal, 20; Amisi 'Hidz' Khama, 18; Kadean 'Littlz' Dias and Leon 'Kids' Atwell, both 17. They were all found guilty of murder last month and jailed last Thursday. During the trial, Shaquille's mum Sandra Maitland, 44, was forced to watch as his killers strutted into the dock, sticking two fingers up at the justice system. They showed no remorse as they made crude gestures towards the public gallery with their fingers. They were therefore sentenced one after the other to avoid violence in the dock which was the fear of prison officials and after the verdicts, jurors wept as Sandra's moving victim impact statement was read. Shaquille was stabbed to death by the gang who had been roving around Hackney, East London, on bikes last August looking for trouble.

A CCTV picture shown in court and on national television stations portrayed the boys, most of them in hoods, riding carelessly and haughtily in front of cars and through red lights and on pavements in a 10-strong relay on the day of the night of the incident. The Old Bailey court in London heard that Shaquille was chatting with two friends in a park opposite his home when they were spotted by the gang nicknamed ‘London Fields Boys’. The court also heard that getting close to where the victim stood with his friends, they abandoned their bikes and climbed over a fence into the park in St. Thomas's Place where the knife-wielding teenagers went aggressively to the three friends and one of them plunged his knife into Shaquille’s stomach. The court was also told that Shaquille’s mother was coming out to call him inside for some house chores when he was attacked together with his two friends.

A sixteen-year-old girl with him was reported to have been slashed across the face and neck as she tried to fight them off. The other friend Tyrell Goather, 18, who had been walking his dog, was lucky to escape the unprovoked but life damaging fans. When Shaquille’s mother looked out of a window and saw him lying but smiling she believed he was safe. It was upon getting closer that she realised she was losing his dear son to the horrific knife crime that had hit London for the past three years. Shaquille was rushed to hospital and at first it appeared he would survive. But his main artery had been severed and after three heart attacks in an operating theatre, he passed away. He became the 25th as well as the youngest to be knifed to death in London last year. In total, 28 teenagers were killed with knife by fellow teenagers in 2008; four of the victims were reported to be Ghanaians. At the time of his death, Shaquille was preparing to return to Sir John Cass' Foundation School after the summer holidays to begin his GCSEs. He had also been accepted into the army cadets.

Detective Chief Inspector Carl Mehta, who led the murder investigations, told reporters that "the boys were acting like wild dogs that day, hunting the area for an innocent victim”. According to him "Shaquille was in a place where he should have felt safe. He was entirely blameless." Judge David Paget who presided said they had attacked Shaquille who had done nothing to provoke them. "He was truly innocent and what is more, he was yards from his own front door," said the judge. Judge Paget added: "The most shocking aspect is that it was completely unprovoked and completely unnecessary. It was truly mindless violence resulting in the death of a totally innocent 14-year-old boy sitting yards from his front door."

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