Five teenagers have been jailed today (29 Nov) for the death of Keon Lincoln who was brutally shot and stabbed to death just yards from his home in Handsworth earlier this year.
Reporting restrictions have been lifted by the judge at Birmingham Crown Court meaning one of two boys under 18 can now be named. Gunman Yussuf Mustapha, aged 14, from Birmingham, was sentenced to life with a minimum of 16 years for murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. A 16-year-old from Walsall, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to life with a minimum of 17 years for murder and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place. Tahjgeem Breaken-Ridge, 18, from Balsall Heath, and Michael Ugochukwu, 18, from Edgbaston were each sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 19 years before they will be eligible to apply for parole. Kieron Donaldson, aged 18 from Perry Barr, was sentenced to 12 years for manslaughter and must serve two-thirds of that. All five were convicted at a trial which ended at Birmingham Crown Court earlier this month.
Keon Lincoln was 15-years-old, with his whole life before him, when he was brutally shot and stabbed to death just yards from his home earlier this year. His attackers were also in their teens with the gunman just 14-years-old. Yesterday (4 Nov) four of them were convicted of Keon’s murder at Birmingham Crown Court. Today a fifth defendant has been found guilty of manslaughter. On 21 January Keon was talking to a friend at the front of his house in Linwood Road, Handsworth, when a white Ford S Max pulled up and several youths jumped out. Keon jumped over his garden wall and ran up the road, but they gave chase and he was stabbed from behind. A shot rang out missing Keon, but he stumbled and fell.
Another shot hit him in the stomach and the pack surrounded him attacking with machetes and large hunting knives where he lay. Keon managed to get up and ran back on himself, but he was chased again and slashed after falling to the floor a second time as the group ran back to the S Max. Keon managed to get up and get to the pavement where he collapsed for the last time. Local residents rushed to his aid, including a nurse, as emergency services arrived. Keon’s mother and sisters were among those at his side as he fought for life. He was taken to hospital, but sadly could not be saved. The Ford S Max had driven off, but crashed into a house and a car in nearby Wheeler Street, with the occupants making off on foot. An intensive investigation began, with teams working round the clock to plot the movements of the suspects on CCTV from before and after the attack. The S Max had been stolen in early January and bore false plates. A large knife in a sheath was found in the footwell of the car, bearing DNA matches to both Keon and 18-year-old Michael Ugochukwu. A face mask found in the boot contained DNA traces of the 16-year-old defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Detailed mobile phone analysis tracked the suspects earlier that day to their meeting point in Deykin Avenue, from where they took a taxi to Lakeside Drive, a 10 minute walk from Ercall Close where they picked up the S Max.
After Keon’s murder and crashing the S Max the defendants separated. Ugochokwu, of Twyning Road, Edgbaston, and 18-year-old Tahjgeem Breaken-Ridge, of Oldfield Road, Balsall Heath, were captured on CCTV walking away from Wheeler Street. Two other defendants, aged 14 and 16, took a taxi, and all met back at Deykin Avenue. Kieron Donaldson, Aston Lane, Birmingham, was the only one aged 18 at the time of Keon’s murder and, although not present at the attack, had supplied the weapons that were used to inflict the brutal injuries on the teenager. He has therefore been convicted of manslaughter.
Within 24 hours detectives made two arrests and over the next three weeks, more followed. Although four have now been found guilty of Keon’s murder, our investigation continues. Detective Inspector Jim Colclough is leading the investigation. He said: “The murder of Keon Lincoln not only devastated his family, but brought shock and sadness to the whole community. “Not least because an attack so brutal could be carried out in broad daylight on a schoolboy, by others just as young, if not younger.
“The wave of disbelief was followed by anger and grief, but ultimately unity as everyone pulled together to support Keon’s family, vowing that this should not happen to another family. “The utter sadness here is that not only has Keon’s family been left without him, but these young killers now face life in prison, away from their own families, and for what? “We have not been able to establish why Keon was murdered. Only his killers know that, but they will now have a long time to reflect on their actions.”
Keon’s mother Charmaine spoke of her grief: “I’m in a nightmare that I cannot wake up from. My heart is broken beyond repair. A piece of my soul has been taken from me. “I see my baby boy’s face as he lay slumped on the ground struggling to breathe. “I hear the words ‘his heart has stopped’. I miss my boy so much that it physically hurts. “I would not wish this suffering on anyone and I can only hope that a day will come when the senseless murdering of children, will come to an end.” Close family friend Reverend Neville Popo knew Keon all his life and has supported his family in their most desperate time of need.
He said: “On the 21 January the lives of so many would never be the same. This is the harrowing day that Keon Lincoln was so brutally taken from us in what can only be described as senseless violence. “When young people attach themselves to potentially violent groups and then begin to act out moments of violence, they are never truly aware of the consequences of their actions. “We know that the system offers consequences to deter such behaviour, but other than the potential fear of arrest and incarceration, I argue that young people do not think about how their actions impact the lives of so many others. “Young people that kill fail to understand that once they have taken a life, they cannot reverse their actions; they must live with this reality for the rest of their lives and all that comes with it.” The 14-year-old was also convicted of possession of a firearm, with the other three convicted of Keon’s murder also found guilty of possession of offensive weapons. They will all be sentenced on 29 November.