Date: 10 Jun 1994
Place: Peckham South, London
Donovan Beckford was shot outside the Kings Arms in Peckham as he sat in his car
A man was tried for his murder but acquitted.
A friend of Donovan Beckford's said that he saw the man that was tried for his murder with a shotgun a few seconds before Donovan Beckford was shot.
A few days after the murder, the man that was tried flew out to Jamaica but was arrested when he returned to England. However, the man said that his trip to Jamaica was entirely coincidental.
The man admitted to the police that he had been in the area at the time of the shooting but denied being the murderer and didn't give evidence at his trial.
The man was an engineering student and said that on the night he had gone to a friends house nearby to use his computer, but said that his friend was out, after which he said that he went home and stayed in for the night.
At the trial, the friend of Donovan Beckford admitted that he had not seen the actual shooting but denied that he had lied about seeing the man with the shotgun. It was claimed that he had made it up because he and the man charged had had a couple of scuffles in the week before the shooting.
It was said that Donovan Beckford and the man tried, as well as Donovan Beckford's friend would go to the Kings on the Rye in Rye Lane where they were regulars.
The first incident was on 3 June 1994 when it was heard that Donovan Beckford's friend had been in the pub which was crowded at the time and had tried to get passed the man tried for the murder and that the man tried for the murder had said to Donovan Beckford's friend, in a quiet, annoyed voice, 'If you want to walk through, just walk through'.
It was said that four days later Donovan Beckford's friend and the man tried for the murder had had a scuffle outside the pub in which bottles and glasses were broken.
It was said then, that on 10 June 1994, the night of the murder, at about midnight, Donovan Beckford and his friend had left the pub and were walking back to Donovan Beckford's car, but that Donovan Beckford's friend said that he took a short cut and then thought at he would play a prank of Donovan Beckford and hid in some bushes and wait for him to pass and then jump out on him and surprise him. However, the friend said that as he was in the bushes, he saw the man tried for the murder and another man who he didn't know walk past heading towards Donovan Beckford's car, saying that the man that was tried had a shotgun with him.
Donovan Beckford's friend said that he then ran away because he thought that they were looking for him.
However, Donovan Beckford had already got back to his car by the time that Donovan Beckford's friend had hidden in the bushes in an alleyway and had been getting his car stereo out from under the passenger seat whilst Donovan Beckford's friend was either in the bushes or running off. The friend said that a few second after he ran off he heard a shot fired.
It was heard that Donovan Beckford was shot in the chest and heart, and had what were described as massive injuries, but that he had still managed to crawl away from his car but died very quickly after.
The man that was tried for Donovan Beckford's murder said that he flew out to Kingston, Jamaica on 18 June 1994, using £900 of his student loan and was due to take his finals in a few days, even though he had never been to the West Indies before, to see his mother who was dying from cancer. His mother died the day after he flew out and the man returned to England on 26 June 1994 and was arrested. The man said that he had not known his mother was about to die and said he knew he would fail his exams in June and said that he was intending to retake them in September.
The jury cleared the man after deliberating for three hours.
see Court News UK