“As part of the trial the jury heard how fascinated O’Connor was by guns and gang lifestyle and on his phone he had been running numerous Google searches for firearms and ammunition in the months prior to his arrest.
In a case involving firearms, violence and gang disputes in south London, a jury today (Wednesday, 4 January) found 23-year-old Jyrelle O’Connor, also known as ‘Loski’, guilty of possessing a loaded revolver.
The conviction follows a three-year investigation led by Detective Constable Andy Snazell from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.
The judge and jury heard that O’Connor, (06.05.99), of Black Pond Lane, Farham Common, was a prominent and high-profile member of a south London gang who were involved in ongoing violent disputes with other gangs in Brixton.
On 9 April 2019, O’Connor was seen getting into an Uber under a false name. Unarmed officers in uniform stopped the vehicle along the A40 St Andrews Road, W3.
Officers searched the car and found a small black sock with something inside it underneath the front passenger seat, directly in front of where O’Connor had been sitting.
Inside the sock was the small black loaded revolver.
He was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
He was charged on 10 April 2019, with possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, possessing a firearm when prohibited for five years, possessing ammunition for a firearm when prohibited for five years, possessing a firearm and possessing a controlled drug of class B (cannabis).
Forensic analysis of the firearm confirmed it to be a 4mm Flobert Calibre Revolver with loaded live ammunition. His DNA was found on the loading face of the cylinder. This is a covered part of the firearm that is not accessible without opening up the gun to see the ammunition.
O’Connor denied the charges and claimed he was forced to hold on to the gun after a drug dealer made threats against his and his mother’s lives. The jury unanimously rejected that defence.
O’Connor was originally stopped that day as officers wanted to question him in relation to the events that led to his friend Latwaan Griffiths’ death in July 2018. Investigating officers believe that Latwaan was fatally stabbed following an attempted shooting on a rival gang.
His DNA had been found inside the man bag that Latwaan had worn when he was stabbed. Officers also found his fingerprint on the reversible latex glove that had gunshot residue on the inside, indicating it had been worn to fire a gun.
The jury found him guilty of possessing a prohibited firearm, possessing a firearm when prohibited for five years and possessing ammunition for a firearm when prohibited for five years.
Latwaan Griffiths, an 18-year-old from Southwark, was found collapsed with multiple stab wounds to his chest in Denmark Road, Camberwell on the evening of July 27, 2018.
Members of the public rushed to give him first aid before he was taken to hospital, but Latwaan died of his injuries in the early hours of the following morning.
Known by his nickname ‘Latz’ and stage name ‘Splash Addict’, Latwaan was a member of the Harlem Spartans drill rapping group, well known within the Kennington area.
The group, affiliated with the Moscow17 gang, is said to have been “at war” with rival gangs in the Brixton area.
Exactly how, where and when the teenager was stabbed remains a mystery to detectives.
Initial enquiries established that he was on a moped with an unidentified individual who left him in Denmark Road before riding off while members of the public tried to provide medical assistance prior to the arrival emergency services.
Latwaan was seen “hanging off” the back of the bike and was bleeding heavily from his injuries.
An image of the moped rider, who was wearing a helmet, was issued as part of a public appeal.
Dramatic footage also captured the moment horrified onlookers rushed to his side as the moped came to a brief stop.
A witness claimed the moped rider was shouting “hold on, hold on” to Latwaan shortly before leaving him.
Abu Kamara, residents’ chairman of the Crawford estate, described how there was a “lot of blood” at the scene.
He added: “His friend stopped the moped and just pushed him off. He shouted ‘help him, help him, he’s been stabbed’ to people standing on the street and rode off.”
He was rushed to hospital at around 7pm, but died at 12.22am the next morning.
His death led to the Camberwell community coming out against knife crime in the area.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted to say the fatal stabbing was “a senseless loss of life”.
He said: “I’m deeply saddened by the fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old in south London last night. Such senseless loss of life leaves families and communities devastated.”
A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of murder three days later.
A further two men, 18, were arrested the next day.
But no charge has been brought against any individual in the near three years since the fatal stabbing.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding, from the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said at the time: “This is a tragic incident which has resulted in another young person being fatally stabbed in London and it’s important we establish where the victim initially received his injuries.
Following the conclusion of the trial, Detective Constable Snazell said: “This has been a trying and challenging case with many twists and turns, but I’m pleased the jury found O’Connor guilty of his crimes and I’d like to thank them for seeing through his lies and excuses.
“I have no doubt that O’Connor, or his gang associates, would have used this revolver in the future and by finding and destroying it we have taken a lethal weapon off the streets and potentially saved a life.
“O’Connor was an influential individual and had many followers on social media. No amount of fortune or fame justifies his serious criminal actions and I’m confident this will be reflected in the sentence that will be handed down by the Judge.”
Jyrelle O’Connor is due to be sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on Friday, 6 January.