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Three found guilty of murdering 20-year-old in Walthamstow

Loic Nengese and Hamza Ul-Haq killed 20-year-old Joseph William-Torres (credit: Met Police)

Two men and a boy have been found guilty of murdering a 20-year-old man in Walthamstow. 

Hamza Ul-Haq, 21, from Wanstead, Loic Nengese, 19, of Walthamstow and a 16-year-old boy killed Joseph William-Torres on Wednesday, 14 March 2018.

They mistook Joseph for a member of a rival gang while he was sitting in a van listening to music with a friend in Essex Close. 

A struggle broke out as they tried to force open the door to his vehicle during which one suspect pulled out a gun and fired at the young victim. 

The 20-year-old was hit in his chest and legs but managed to stagger out of the van after the suspects fled the scene.

Local residents tried to give him first aid until police and paramedics arrived. Sadly, his injuries were too severe and Joseph died an hour later.

Joseph was mistaken for a rival gang member and tragically shot dead (credit: Met Police)

All three are due to be sentenced on Friday, 10 January 2020.

“Joseph’s murder was the result of ongoing retaliation and tit-for-tat incidents between rival gangs,” said Detective Sergeant Ian Valentine.

Ul-Haq had previously been seen in the Essex Close area and told police his friend Elijah Dornelly was stabbed to death in Walthamstow High Street on Tuesday, 9 May 2017.

He and several others tried to attack Ezra Abeka-Soares in an amusement arcade in Hoe Street, Leyton. Ul-Haq and another also tried to break into his home, armed with a machete, the following day. 

The gun that was used to murder Joseph was used in a previous attack (credit: Met Police)

Abeka-Soares was later convicted of the murder of Elijah Dornelly. 

Joseph’s death is believed to have been part of a turf war between the two gangs. 

“Where do I even begin to try and tell you about our son who you have never had and never will have the pleasure of meeting,” said Joseph’s father Tony on behalf of his entire family. 

“Joseph came from a loving, close and hardworking family. The reason why I feel it’s important to say this is because when Joseph was murdered, people who do not know him and us formed opinions as to why this happened and what must he have done in order for this to happen to him. What we all know is Joseph had not wronged anyone, he was not the intended target of his killers and as the evidence suggests this was a case of mistaken identity.

“He was so popular and had so many friends, this was apparent at Joseph’s funeral. So many people attended, some of whom carried Joseph into the chapel. They wore T-shirts with Joseph’s picture on, this was a really touching tribute to him.

“On the day Joseph was murdered he was arranging his 21st birthday trip to Sweden where his friend has family. Nobody could have known that just a short time later the evil that was lurking around the corner meaning Joseph never reached his 21st birthday and never got to go to Sweden.

“Since 14 March 2018 my family’s lives have changed forever. Never before have I been sat somewhere and just broken down crying, having no control of how this pain has affected me.

“What is so unfair is the accused’s families will still get to see them and any children they go on to have. Esther and I will never get to meet the grandchildren Joseph may have graced us with and in turn Joseph will never get to meet his nieces/nephews his sister Patricia may have graced him with.

“Joseph never deserved to die and we will never be able to forgive those responsible for doing it. There will never be a harsh enough sentence or punishment for what they have done. Our hearts are forever broken.”

If you have information that could help keep your community safe but don’t want to speak to police, please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They do not ask your name and cannot trace your call or I.P address.

Any young people who have either information about violence or any type of crime can visit www.fearless.org where they can pass on information anonymously – your I.P address will not be traced. Fearless is part of the Crimestoppers charity, and is also independent of the police.


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