16 years old Shakilus Townsend was excited to be going to meet a girl he was very keen on Saturday 3rd July 2009. They met and took a bus journey to Thornton Heath. There Shakilus, who’s devoted family call him ‘Shaki’, was to meet his fate.
The girl had lured him to a gang, convincing him she was interested in him romantically.
Shaki was brutally attacked by a gang of youths who beat him with a baseball bat and used a knife to stab him in the chest, the attack cost him his life.
It was widely reported by witnesses who tried to assist the young man, that Shaki was heard saying, “Where’s my mum? I want my mum”, as he lay dying.
His heartbroken mother Nicola tells how she spent the day desperately trying to contact Shaki, who she spoke to shortly before he was attacked. But to no avail. Shaki left home that morning a happy smiling teenager, on his way to a date. The next time Nicola saw him he was dead.
The case was tagged “The Honeytrap Murder” by the media, due to the young girls role in the crime, and seven of the gang members were quickly arrested. They were all found guilty of murder for their part in Shaki’s death and sentenced to life under the joint enterprise law. The 16 year old girl who lured him to where the gang lay in wait was also found guilty of murder and received a life sentence.
Shakilus was the oldest of five children and lived in Deptford, South London. He was a bright, caring, loving boy, who helped his mum a lot with his younger siblings. He had in fact been due to collect them from school on the day he was murdered. Shaki was on the road to making a good life for himself after securing a place at college on a course that would have given him the opportunity to become the man he wanted to be.
His mother now talks to young offenders who are involved in gang lifestyle, about how losing Shaki has affected her and her entire family in a bid to make them see what acts of violence actually do to families, after joining MAMAA as a volunteer. Her talks are incredibly honest, frank and moving, and she says: “If I can stop just one of them from going on to destroy a family in the way mine has been destroyed then every presentation will have been worth it.”