• ‘This is my favourite knife as it slices through flesh easily. When I’m done I put it back in the kitchen drawer so my mum can chop potatoes’
  • Inside London’s gangland – A staggering 73,000 Brits under the age of 25 believing they are a gang member and the situation is only set to get worse

By Lauren Libbert – @laurenlibbert
Tuesday 24th July 2018

A BOY wearing a balaclava flashes a knife in front of the camera, his fingers running across its serrated edge as he explains how he’s taken it from his mum’s kitchen drawer without her knowing.

It’s his favourite knife, he says, because it slices through flesh easily.

Even more shocking is his laugh when he talks about washing the knife and bleaching it before putting it back in the drawer so his mum can cut the potatoes with it the next day.
This is just one of the terrifying scenes from the new series of crime documentary, Gangland, airing tonight.

It features gang members – who film themselves with cameras dropped off by the crew – showing off their guns and 10-inch knives and talking about killing and death with a casual nonchalance that chills you to the bone.

“I never fear death. I always kill someone,” says one gang member in a muffled voice, his face masked to hide his identity.

“If you ‘aint got a weapon, death is just around the corner. I carry a gun wherever I go.”
There is more violence on our streets now than ever before, with 1.3 million violent crimes reported in England and Wales in 2017 – a 21 per cent increase over the year before.

This year, gang-related deaths are at an all-time high, and the shocking crime figures are only set to rise thanks to this country’s insidious and ever-growing gang culture which means nowhere – and nobody – is safe.

This is what we’re dealing with in modern day Britain; killers roaming the streets with dangerous weapons and more than willing to use them. It’s little wonder that London’s murder rate momentarily overtook New York’s earlier this year.

And even worse, they’re now grooming children as young as 12 or 13 to join their gangs and do their dirty work for them – with a staggering 73,000 Brits under the age of 25 identifying as gang members.

Grooming an army of impressionable foot soldiers

In the documentary we hear how kids are tragically becoming the foot soldiers of gang operations, too young to be strip-searched by police and therefore perfect mules to carry and sell drugs.

The first episode features Keisha McLeod, 38, mother of 14 year-old Corey Junior Davis, known as CJ, who was shot dead outside a playground in Forest Gate, East London.
CJ was groomed for months by older gang members and soon found himself perilously tangled in their criminal behaviour.

Keisha had been trying to get CJ away from the gangs operating near their home in Newham as soon as she realised what was going on.

“They’d meet them outside the school gates and start offering the kids mobile phones, trainers and clothes – all things kids that age want and perhaps parents can’t afford – if they’ll just go and do a job for them,” Keisha tells Sun Online.

“I’d see CJ with a new mobile phone and he’d say it was given to him by a friend but I knew the gangs were trying to get to him and I’d insist he gave it them back. He was totally drawn in by them.”

In the doc she explains how her son’s connection to these local gangs went horribly wrong and how he called her “scared in his voice” one day after being given heroin and crack cocaine to sell by older gang members.

Keisha went to meet CJ, taking the mobile phone he’d been given and sending him home, before lying to the gang about him being arrested so they wouldn’t come after him.
At this point CJ finally realised what the gangs were doing and came over to his mother’s side but, as Keisha says: “He was naïve. They only see it when it’s too late.”

She tried to move CJ to South London but he was shot and killed before they left.
No one has been arrested and the killers are still at large, but Keisha believes the bullet wasn’t meant for him.

“It was a case of wrong place, wrong time, but that’s what happens when you get involved with these gangs,” she says.

“You’re tainted by association and anything can happen to anyone.”

On camera, we witness her heartbreak at not being able to protect her son, especially when she finds a letter to her from CJ shortly after his death saying: “Sorry for all the times that we argued. I just want to be a normal child.”

“I’m now a mother, without being a mother and I have to find a new way of living,” says Keisha.

“But I won’t be able to rest until I know who did this to CJ.

“There is such a culture of silence around these gangs because people are afraid to talk and it has to stop. They need to be caught; they need to be put behind bars.”

Turf wars carving out local drug market

The documentary also tells the story of 18-year-old Kacem Mokrane, who was stabbed in the stomach on the streets of Walthamstow in November 2017 after refusing to get involved with a local gang.

Violent crime is rife in the E17 area, where Kacem was killed, and a bloody turf war has ensued as rival factions try to carve out bigger slices of the local drug market.

Kacem’s grandmother Marlene found him with his intestines spilling out onto the street, and doctors had to operate on him for three days until the terrible decision was made to switch off his life-support machine.

“It was planned and premeditated,” says Marlene. “He didn’t want to be involved and they stabbed him.”

Escalating violence on Britain’s streets

In 2017, 25 teens were killed as a result of gang activity in the UK and it seems gang culture is now a threat to every community in Britain, with 250 street gangs in London alone.
Croydon – the capital’s largest borough – has one of the highest levels of youth violence in Britain with knife crime rising by 96 per cent just in the last year.

It’s all down to a thriving postcode war, where two rival gangs from the postcodes CR0 and CR7 continually taunt each on social media.

One recent victim was 15 year-old Jermaine Groupall who was stabbed multiple times while walking to his home in Thornton Heath, in the postcode CR0, by members of rival gang from CR7 who mistook him for someone else. Jermaine died at the scene from a single stab wound to his leg in August 2017.

“He was just very unfortunate,” says a gang member casually – words which naturally give his sister Tinisha, 26, who works in HR, little comfort.

“He was just trying to get home but he couldn’t get home,” she says. “That was the worst day of my life. When the doctor says we’ve done everything we could and your brother’s gone.

“I switched off to the world, dropped on the floor, crying. Everything just stops and goes black. You’re in a bubble by yourself, all frozen.”

Three people were given life sentences for stabbing the teenager to death but Tinisha is still reeling from her brother’s senseless murder, often going to the spot where he was killed and laying down brightly-coloured flowers.

“It’s the definition of his character,” she says. “He was very vibrant and happy.”
Ending the criminals’ chokehold

The documentary talks about the need for change and features interviews with two reformed leaders of rival gangs who are now pastors of Spac Nation Ministries, a church in East London.

They’re trying to combat this poisonous gang culture by asking people to leave their drugs and knives at the altar and showing them a different way of life.

These former gang leaders, both of whom have spent time in jail and are now known as Pastor Sam and Pastor David, talk about their past and explain how they did what they were good at – violence.

They say they thrived on “the energy of the madness and felt invincible”.

Original Article: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6845750/crime-gangs-gangland-c5/