Unsolved Murders

Corey Junior Davis

Age: 14

Sex: male

Date: 4 Sep 2017

Place: Moore Walk, Forest Gate, Newham, London

Corey Junior Davis was shot in the back of the head at close range in Moore Walk, E7 at about 3.08pm on Monday 4 September 2017.

He was taken to hospital but died the following morning, Tuesday 5 September 2017 at 10.01am.

He had been socialising with friends in a playground there at the time when a Range Rover car pulled up and some people got out and fired at them. His 17-year-old male friend was also shot in the leg and received what was described as a potentially life-changing injury. The police said, 'The suspects got out of this vehicle, shot the lads and drove off. We don’t think CJ was targeted, or his friend'.

A receptionist that lived nearby said, 'I heard three shots and I thought nothing of it until I heard someone shout 'oh no, they got him in the head'. There was quite a lot of people outside and I saw one of my colleagues run outside to see what they could do to help, but there was a lot of people surrounding him. There was this old lady holding him like a baby, cradling him in her arms. I was phoning an ambulance with the other boy who had been shot in the leg. I was telling him not to worry, but it was as if he was not taking it in'.

Another witness said, 'They were just sitting there talking, and then this guy just came from behind and shot him. Fourteen-years-old, what can you do to get shot in the head with a shotgun?'.

It was later reported that it was believed that the shooting was a revenge attack over an earlier stabbing at the Westfield shopping centre during a mass brawl.

It was also suggested that Corey Davis had been singled out as he was an easy target.

Following the shooting the police increased the number of patrols in the area, saying that there were serious concerns others might retaliate.

It was thought that he had been shot in a gang related drive-by-shooting. The police said that they were looking for a metallic grey 2011 Range Rover Sport HSE TDV6 car that was seen near the scene at about 2.53pm on Wyatt Road near the junction with Upton Lane, E7. It had dark tinted windows from behind the driver's seat to the back. It was next seen driving erratically and speeding along Romford Road in a northbound direction towards the A406 North Circular Road at 3.15pm as it was thought to have been fleeing the scene.

The Range Rover was said to have been stolen in Haverhill Road, Balham ten days earlier on 24 August 2017 at about 1am. When it was stolen it had the registration number EY11 XSG but when it was thought to have been used in the drive-by shooting the first part of the registration was D11. It was noted that whilst the full numberplate of the Range Rover when it was seen on the day was known, that it was not released as it had been cloned from a legitimate Range Rover sport and was being used by someone else.

The police also released the Range Rovers VIN and engine number:

  • VIN: SALLSAAG3BA292779.
  • Engine Number: 0534374306DT.

The police later said, 'We have reason to believe this car could still be out there - someone could have bought it in good faith for instance having no idea that they have bought a stolen vehicle. I would be grateful if anyone who has bought an identical make and model of car since 4 September 2017 could check its VIN number. The VIN number can usually be found by looking from outside the vehicle at the lower left side of the windscreen, in the driver's side door jam or under the bonnet. Please contact us urgently if it matches the number we have given out. The engine number is also readily accessible to check. It is also possible that a garage or scrap dealer could have inadvertently worked on the whole vehicle or parts of it without realising it had been used in a murder. Again I would urge people in this sector to think back over the last month and check their records. Any information will be treated in the strictest of confidence, it is the persons who used it on 4 September that are our sole interest at this point'.

The police also appealed for anyone that might have seen the Range Rover parked in a street in the last week of August after 24 August 2017 or in the Wyatt Road or Romford Road area around 3pm on 4 September 2017 to come forward.

The police said that they came up against a wall of silence during their investigation.

The stabbing at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford occurred on Friday 1 September 2017 at about 6.15pm. One man was stabbed with a hunting knife and another received head injuries. One witness said that there was 'blood all over the floor' and photographs showed policemen surrounding a person who appeared to be slumped on the floor. A man was arrested soon after on suspicion of GBH and possession of an offensive weapon after the hunting knife was wrestled from him following the stabbing.

A witness said, 'At first I thought they were fooling around but then it became clear this was a serious fight. One guy had a huge knife, a hunting knife, and there was another guy who wrestled it off him. Shortly after he'd let go of the knife the police came and arrested him. I couldn't see the injured guy but there were people screaming and shouting and a lot of panic everywhere'.

Corey Davis was shot four days later.

It was further noted that the Westfield shopping centre was the scene of a major counter-terror police operation earlier on in which they seized various weapons including a knife, hammer and an imitation gun and that Stratford station had been closely monitored for months by British Transport Police in case of it being targeted by terrorists.

Corey Davis was also known as CJ.

He had previously been living with his uncle in south London for a few months but shortly before his murder he had just moved into his grandfather's flat in Forest Gate.

He was described as a vulnerable youth who had become involved with hardened gangsters. A serious case review  and a report were later carried out in which it was stated that Corey Davis had been groomed by gang members and that the authorities had been aware of his changing situation and could have protected him from a gang life.

The report stated that Corey Davis had been diagnosed with ADHD after he entered secondary school that that by the age of 13, in January 2016, he was excluded after the school determined that they could not manage his behaviour and he was moved to a pupil referral unit. It was noted that his mother started to home-school Corey Davis after she feared he was being targeted at a pupil referral unit by gang members.

However, from there it was noted that the police had already received intelligence that he had been associating with gangs involved with drugs. The report noted that it was a clear sign that he was being groomed as a recruit and it was also noted that Corey Davis had told his mother what was happening. It was heard that Corey Davis would mingle with other gang members and that they would go to the shops and that they would buy him things like food that that after winning his trust they would ask him to do them small favours such as hang on to small packages, presumably drugs, that they didn't want to be in possession of themselves.

It was further reported that following the police intelligence and his mother's warnings that his case was not discussed at a child protection conference within the London Borough of Newham but instead passed on to the local Youth Offending Team, inferring that instead of being treated as a victim or vulnerable person he was being treated as a criminal.

It was reported that later in the year, summer 2016, that Corey Davis had become more concerned over his safety and that he had bought a large Rambo style knife and a bullet proof vest.

It was next reported that in November 2016 he had disappeared for a week and that when he returned he had refused to say where he had been and that his behaviour by then had all the hallmarks of a child who was under the control of a gang and being tasked by older, violence-hardened criminals to sell drugs on their behalf.

His mother said that Corey Davis called him in December 2016 and told her that older youths were getting him to sell drugs. She said, 'He called me one evening when he was supposed to be going to a youth centre. He was very agitated and said 'Boys want me to sell drugs until nine'. I found him and he had a fair amount of crack and heroin with him, which I took off him. I took him home and I hugged him. I was so grateful that he had contacted me in that moment because it could have gone in so many different ways'.

It was heard that the drugs that Corey Davis's mother had thrown away were worth about £600 and that that meant that Corey Davis then had a drugs debt.

His mother said that she knew that she needed to find a way out for him and said that she spoke to the social services, the police and the housing authorities in Newham where they were then living. She said, 'Anyone who had anything to do with him was aware of what had happened'.

It was reported that by then Newham's social services team had clear evidence that Corey Davis was being groomed to be a drugs dealer and it was noted that the Metropolitan Police had added him to their 'gangs matrix', a controversial database of known or suspected gang members who were targets for investigation.

His mother said that by then she was scared for Corey Davis and that she knew that she wanted to get him out of the area and that in January 2017 she arranged for him to go and live with her brother in south London, noting that the local authorities had done nothing to help move him. His mother said, 'We were waiting for a property to move out of London. There was gang grooming in the area. I brought it to the police’s attention and social services, but nothing was done. He was scared'.

However, it was noted that following Corey Davis's move to his uncle's house that his case ceased to be under the responsibility of Newham Council and instead fell under the responsibility of Lewisham Council but that additionally there was no liaison between the two authorities regarding his situation.

It was reported however that Corey Davis, who was then in debt to the gang was going back and forth across London doing their bidding.

Then, in April 2017, Corey Davis was arrested and convicted for carrying a knife. He had told the police that he had had a knife because he had been threatened on social media.

It was reported that Corey Davis planned to return and live with his mother in Newham in April 2017 after East Thames housing association found her a new property in Barkingside but that the offer was withdrawn on 7 July 2017 and that following that, in June 2017, Corey Davis went to live with his grandfather in Newham after he fell out with his uncles.

His mother later said, 'They offered me a property and took it back. My son could be alive if I had got that property. This is a 14-year-old child in a playground in the middle of the day. This is where he is supposed to be. When we were told about the Barkingside property, we were on the internet, looking at the house. It had a back garden where he was going to park his bike. He was so excited, looking up the school he was going to and five days later it was taken away. It broke my heart'.

The chief executive of East Thames said: 'Due to the danger Corey faced, we offered the family a temporary property outside of London. In July, we offered the family another property but later withdrew the offer as the property wasn’t, in fact, available'.

At about the same time the police increased his status in their 'gang matrix' from green to amber, which meant that he was believed he was an increasing threat to the community. However, his mother later said that she thought that that threat was from others to Corey Davis and that Corey Davis was himself the victim.

Then, on 4 September 2017, Corey Davis was shot in the head as he was sat with a number of other people in the playground by someone in the Range Rover car.

The Serious Case Review into his case concluded, 'Despite hundreds of professional hours provided by a multitude of people, discussion at dozens of meetings over several years and provision of multiple forms of support (albeit with limited intervention), little changed for Corey Davis and risk was not effectively managed'. It said that assessments made over several years by Newham council’s children’s services and youth offending team amounted to 'snapshots' that gave 'limited opportunity to develop planned interventions that effectively responded to Corey Davis's needs'. It added that social worker churn meant casework had stopped and started as practitioners moved on which resulted in the denial of continuity of care and with information not being shared at critical moments. The report said, 'It is clear that despite concerns across agencies, relating to Corey Davis's vulnerability, systems in place at the time of his death did not effectively respond to [him] as an at risk child'.

It was later reported that a drill music video was made that mocked Corey Davis's death and his mother said that she thought that she was being taunted for speaking out against gang violence. She said that the drill song taunted her for speaking out against gangs. One line of the lyrics had read, 'Mum's been shedding tears, somebody tell her I don't give a f*** that her son ain't here'. Corey Davis's mother said that she thought that the song was also made as a warning against her shedding light on gang culture. It was heard that another line in the song had read, 'Ever since her son got dropped the whole block ain't done s***. I was laughing when I saw the pic of the mum just bury her kid'.

It was noted that the term 'drill music' came from Chicago where the term 'drill' referred to automatic weapons that were being used in the city's soaring gang warfare situation. The term 'drill' was also said to mean 'scrapping' or 'fighting'. It was noted that there were hundreds of videos on the YouTube website that featured UK rappers threatening and provoking people from rival areas, some of which had been viewed millions of times. One video was noted for featuring a lyric referring to a person bleaching their knife after stabbing someone with it.

Another song titled 'Mummy's Kitchen' referred to youths taking a knife from their mother's kitchen.

It was noted in August 2018 that YouTube had taken down over 30 drill music videos at the request of Scotland Yard who claimed they encouraged gang violence, however, it was also reported that they had requested that 60 videos were taken down but that they were being asked to prove that they were 'harmful' first.

His mother was reported to have campaigned against violent crime ever since Corey Davis's murder.

No arrests were made in the investigation into Corey Davis's murder.

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