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Drill rappers get life for 16-year-old boy’s ‘needless’ street killing near Euston

Two drill rappers who knifed a rival to death in a tit-for-tat north London gang war have been jailed for life.

Tariq Monteiro, 23, and Siyad Mohamud, 24, were convicted of the “needless” murder of 16-year-old former Southampton youth footballer Alex Smith in Camden.

They were in a group of six who chased Alex in cars and on foot before stabbing him to death with a machete in a doorway when he left a restaurant in Great Portland Street near Euston on August 12, 2019.

Monteiro, who raps as Suspect, and Mohamud, known as Swavey, posted videos online mocking their victim and celebrating his killing.

The pair fled to Kenya but were arrested in Nairobi last year and extradited.

Both refused to appear for their sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey.

Monteiro, of no fixed address, was ordered to serve a minimum of 24 years and Mohamud, of Barker Drive, Camden, at least 23 years.

The convictions are the third and fourth for Alex’s murder across four separate trials.

In a statement read to the court, Alex’s mother Beatriz Smith described her son as her “precious baby boy” and she could not get out of her mind of him being “hunted by a pack”.

Tariq Monteiro, 23, (L) and Siyad Mohamud, 24, fled the UK (R) (Metropolitan Police)
Tariq Monteiro, 23, (L) and Siyad Mohamud, 24, fled the UK (R) (Metropolitan Police)

Monteiro and Mohamud are believed to have been part of the Agar Grove gang and were said to have been looking for members of the Cumbo gang in a continued episode of “tit-for-tat” violence.

Months earlier, a member of Agar Grove had been injured in a stabbing, which the group believed was enacted by the rival mob, the court heard.

Detective Sergeant Martin Slattery, of the Met’s Specialist Crime, said: “The two men convicted, Siyad Mohamud and Tariq Monteiro, were arrested and returned to the UK from Kenya in January 2022.

“They had left London days after the murder in a bid to evade justice, but thanks to the diligence of detectives from the Metropolitan Police they were identified and, working alongside the National Crime Agency with the assistance of the Kenyan Transnational Organized Crime Unit, they were traced to Nairobi, Kenya and returned to the UK to be brought before the courts.

“I want to thank Alex’s family for their patience as well as acknowledging the commitment of my colleagues in the Met and our partners in bringing these men to justice.

“I truly hope that these further convictions will enable Alex’s family and friends to draw some comfort from knowing that these men, responsible for killing Alex, will spend a considerable period of time in prison.

“Neither Mohamud nor Monteiro have shown any remorse throughout the trial and have offered no explanation as to why they committed such a heinous act.

“These convictions reinforce the Metropolitan Police’s commitment and determination to bring those responsible for serious violence on the streets of London to justice, no matter where they run to and hide.”

David Hucker, of the NCA, said: “Our international team worked alongside authorities in Kenya to successfully locate and arrest these two men.

“We will continue to gather intelligence, co-ordinate operational activity and use our specialist capabilities to pursue those who flee overseas to evade justice.”

Sentencing the pair, Judge Sarah Munro KC said the killing was another example of a “needless loss of a teenage life”.

She added they had set out to kill their victim, then “fled the jurisdiction, escaped justice and celebrated the killing” by posting videos about the stabbing online.