Gangsters who accompanied one of their members, nicknamed “Billy the Kid”, to a fatal gunfight have been convicted of his murder in a legal first.
Billy McCullagh, 27, was joined by three friends as they targeted a rival gang but was killed when the ride-out ended in “crushing defeat”, the Old Bailey heard.
Mr McCullagh was shot twice in the back in the early hours of July 16 2020, and died in a street in north west London.
Individuals from the opposing gang who fired upon him were not identified by investigators and members of Mr McCullagh’s own gang were charged with his death in what is believed to be a legal first
Issa Seed, 25, Adel Yussuf, 25, and Daniel Mensah, 30, were found guilty of his murder after they travelled armed in the Land Rover with plans to commit violence against rivals while a funeral party was going on.
Mr Seed was also shot in the leg during the gun battle.
‘Events did not go according to plan’
Oliver Glasgow QC, prosecutor, told the Old Bailey that Mr McCullagh’s death was unsurprising “since Billy McCullagh was a member of a violent street gang and the street where he was shot and killed was the territory of his sworn rivals”.
He said that Mr McCullagh’s planned attack was a “violent response to the stabbing of one of their friends who had been killed the day before”.
“Despite the steps that had been taken to remain anonymous, to have strength in numbers, and to ensure that they had the superior firepower, events did not go according to plan,” he added.
“The humiliation suffered by Billy McCullagh’s fellow gang members must have more than equalled the pain they felt at the loss and injuries that had been inflicted upon them,” Mr Glasgow QC said, adding that it had led to a “defeat that had seen them abandon their friend to die on the streets of their rivals”.
The home side homicide case is believed to be the first of its kind to be brought in England and Wales.
He said his friends now “find themselves in this court, accused of his murder, accused of trying to cover up their involvement in the shootout and accused of hiding the guns that were used to try to kill their rivals”.