Unsolved Murders

John Ogunjobi

Age: 16

Sex: male

Date: 5 Nov 2018

Place: Greenleaf Close, Tulse Hill, London

John Ogunjobi was stabbed in Greenleaf Close, Tulse Hill at about 10.50pm on Monday 5 November 2015.

The police were called out at 10.53pm and paramedics pronounced him dead at 11.41pm. His cause of death was given as being due to a stab wound. A witness said that he had been stabbed five times in the chest and stomach. It was said that it took 15 to 20 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.

It was thought that he had been murdered in a gang war driven by drill music between the Lower Tulse Hill gang and the Harlem Spartans although it was also claimed that he had been murdered by members of the Clapham Town gang. However, his family claimed that it was a case of mistaken identity.

He had been waiting for his mother to come and pick him up at the time. When she arrived she found him covered in blood on the ground and he died soon after in front of her.

The police said that they were looking for two cars that were connected with the incident.

Black Audi Q5: It was a stolen car and had false numberplates, LB11 XPJ. It was seen before the murder at 10.41pm on CCTV at a Texaco petrol station in Croxted Road, Dulwich, near Brockwell Park having come from the West Dulwich direction where a man was seen putting petrol in it. The man had been wearing a long green puffa coat and purple latex gloves. The car left the petrol station at 10.43pm and went off in the direction of Norwood Road. It was later found burnt out on the Gunsite Allotments off Grange Lane in Dulwich the following day. It had been stolen from Barbage Road on 12 October 2018.

Light coloured VW 5-door Polo car: It had damage to the corner of its offside rear bumper. Was seen shortly before and after the murder.

The police said that they thought that John Ogunjobi had been attacked by a number of people and believed that other people would have seen it.

Four men were arrested shortly after:

  1. 20-year-old.
  2. 21-year-old.
  3. 22-year-old.
  4. 23-year-old.

Shortly after his murder music videos appeared online that referenced his murder with lyrics claiming that his stomach had been 'cut open like a bear' and that his mother had had been 'screaming it ain’t fair'. The video had appeared on YouTube in which the singer apparently claimed credit for his murder. The full verse was, 'Tulse hill tugs what where, cut your belly open like a bear, mandem gave u a scare, jaysavs fam screaming it ain’t fair' which was followed by a laughing emoticon.

John Ogunjobi had been known as JaySav and it was said that he had been linked to the Lower Tulse Hill gang and to have recorded drill rap videos with them in which he rapped about 'cheffing' enemies, stabbing them, as well as bragging about 'drugs, money and skeng', skeng being a word for a gun. A friend of his said, 'John was in a gang, he had enemies. They did things, you know like gang stuff'.

He was said to have been in one video in which the singers had been masked. It was further said that he had appeared in videos that had appeared on YouTube associated with gang activity that were being monitored by the Metropolitan Police.

The Harlem Spartans were described as one of Londons most dangerous drill groups and a member of their gang, Crosslom Davis, known as Bis, was murdered on 6 December 2019. Two people were convicted for his murder.

One of the videos that JaySav was thought to have been in was called, 'Tulse Hill Slums' and featured the estate on which John Ogunjobi was murdered on. It was thought that he had been targeted by a rival gang because he had been a gang member and had been alone and vulnerable.

It was later said that John Ogunjobi's murder had been the trigger for the murder of Soloman Small in Brixton on 15 August 2019 for which a man was convicted in 2020. An appeal was made claiming that, although it was agreed that the person killed Soloman Small, that the prosecution had claimed that it was gang related and in retaliation for the murder of John Ogunjobi. In the appeal it was heard that amongst many things, the police had said that there was no evidence to say that it was not gang related and the appeal was dismissed. It was heard that the man that killed Soloman Small had been waiting outside a shop and that when Soloman Small had come along he had talked to him and then followed Soloman Small who appeared worried and later stabbed him to death, claiming self-defence.

The assertions made in the case were that the man was in the Roupell Park, 67, Lower Tulse Hill gang faction whilst Soloman Small had been in the rival ClapTown, 150, UpTop gang faction with John Ogunjobi being a member of the Lower Tulse Hill faction. It was heard that there had been a long running feud between Tulse Hill gangs and Brixton gangs for over ten years since a boy was murdered outside a school in Tulse Hill by members of a Brixton gang which had resulted in nine gang murders over the years.

At the trial for the murder of Soloman Small, it was submitted that the prosecution had asserted the following:

  1. That John Ogunjobi was affiliated to a gang (Lower Tulse Hill).
  2. That the Lower Tulse Hill gang was affiliated to the Roupell Park gang such that the Roupell Park gang would take revenge by proxy for the Lower Tulse Hill gang.
  3. That John Ogunjobi was murdered by members of the rival Clapham Town gang.
  4. That the man tried was an affiliate of the Roupell Park gang.
  5. That Solomon Small was an affiliate of the Clapham Town gang with such links to those who murdered John Ogunjobi that he was a readily identifiable target for a revenge attack. 

It was noted that the murder of John Ogunjobi had been described as a trigger event for the murder of Soloman Small but at the appeal it was heard that a police expert with knowledge of gang culture had said that it was preferable to state that it was a motive with it being sufficient to demonstrate that the man on trial and Soloman Small had both been in rival gangs that as such the man's defence of self-defence, lack of intent and loss of control, was undermined. Because of that connection. However, the defence stated that these facts were not proven and were based on hearsay from a police officer who was positioned as an expert and that the facts had to be admissible evidence and not opinion.

However, the appeal heard that there was admissible evidence, as there was CCTV footage of the killing of John Ogunjobi which showed John Ogunjobi standing on a street corner on the Roupell Park estate with a vehicle stopping and four young men getting out and stabbing him repeatably. The implication was that it could be proved that John Ogunjobi was killed and that from the CCTV footage that it could clearly be seen that it was a gang killing. Further, on the affiliation of John Ogunjobi with gangs, it was heard that his nickname was JaySav and that he was known to have been a member of the Lower Tulse Hill gang. It was heard that the expert in gang culture, whose expertise was based on fourteen years frontline experience and with him having been embedded in several schools with the intention of diverting young people away from gangs and having personally known and spoken to John Ogunjobi whilst he was in school with the intention of diverting him away from gang life, was sufficient to be admissible as fact. The policeman also produced YouTube evidence to support his assertions that John Ogunjobi was in the Lower Tulse Hill gang, in particular:

  • A Lower Tulse Hill tribute video uploaded on 18 August 2018 in which participants wore t-shirts featuring John Ogunjobi's image and the wording 'JSav's world 2002-2018'.
  • Videos uploaded on 23 January 2019 and 16 December 2019 by what the policeman referred to as rival gang members from the Angell Town based 150 gang and the Wandsworth Road based 17 gang, referring in disparaging terms to John Ogunjobi's death. The first of these included in its title the words 'LTH Diss', clearly suggesting an association between John Ogunjobi and the LTH gang, and included the lyric 'Jump out on the LTH shout out JaySav he was way too slow'.

In continuance, it was heard that Soloman Small had also recorded a video which was posted on the day after his murder, 16 August 2019, that clearly associated him with the ClapTown and 150 gangs which he referred to as 'my clappers' and 'my Aigons' and in which he had mocked John Ogunjobi's death. The video was further said to have supported the view that John Ogunjobi had been a member of a gang with a hostile relationship with one or more of the gangs that Soloman Small had been involved with.

It was further heard that the defence accepted and admitted that the Lower Tulse Hill and Roupell Park estate gangs were closely linked and that the two gang factions had had had a long standing feud with the ClapTown and UpTop gangs.

It was then stated that after noting that it had already been agreed that John Ogunjobi had been killed in a gang attack that the task of showing which gang it had been was all that was left to submit that the general gang motive in Soloman Small's murder was true and admissible in evidence. That was done through reference to the 'LTH Diss' video dated 23 January 2019 which claimed responsibility for his death, noting that it had already been shown that Soloman Small was a member of that gang in his 16 August 2019 video. Further, it was noted that his 16 August 2019 video, which although posted after his murder, saw Soloman Small directly seek to claim credit for the murder of John Ogunjobi.

It was then shown that it could be proved that the man tried had been associated with the Roupell Park gang, it being heard that he had been stopped on numerous occasions on the Roupell Park estate in the company of known gang members between December 2017 and January 2019, including a time when he was arrested with two known Roupell Park gang members in January 2019. He was also shown to have been involved with a 'Bing' video that was posted on YouTube on 28 May 2019 in which he was with other gang members and had made a number of hand gestures that were interpreted in various ways to indicate his association with the gang and his disrespect of the ClapTown and Angell Town gangs. Although it was noted that his identification was hard to make out due to him wearing a mask, which was further confused by the fact that his brother was in the gang, the policeman detailed the identification of both the man and his brother in the same video, thus ruling out the possibility that the person said to be the man on trial in the videos had in fact been his brother.

It was further heard that on the day after the uploading of the 'LTH Diss' video that the man had been stopped by the police on 24 January 2019 and found to have had a picture of John Ogunjobi on his home and lock screen on his phone.

It was then shown that Soloman Small had been affiliated with the Clapham Town gang through both defence evidence as well as Soloman Small's own video which was uploaded after his death.

However, it was noted that it was not necessary to prove that Soloman Small had specific links to the murderers of John Ogunjobi such that would make him a readily identifiable target for attack, but that it would suffice that he was known to have been a rival gang member, which the evidence showed.

It was also shown that there was evidence to show that Soloman Small had carried knives, including an incident in June 2019 in which he had threatened a concierge at the hostel where he had been living.

The judge concluded, 'that the evidence that the defendant and Solomon Small were in rival gangs and that the defendant described John Ogunjobi as his friend and retained pictures of John Ogunjobi on his telephone could be considered by the jury as evidence of the motive of the defendant to attack Solomon Small, a rival gang member who had after all, recorded videos mocking the death of John Ogunjobi, albeit that such videos were only released after Solomon Small was killed'.

In conclusion, the evidence of the gang relations was found admissible, although not directly material in the case of Solomon Small's murder as it was accepted that the man had stabbed him, but it not only showed that John Ogunjobi had been in a gang and that there was evidence of his bad character, but also associated his murder with the ongoing gang water that had taken nine lives, but also placed the focus on members of the ClapTown gang with  having been involved with John Ogunjobi’s murder and in particular suspicion that Solomon Small could have been involved in John Ogunjobi’s murder as his last video implied. However, the court of appeal ruled that there was no evidence to show who murdered John Ogunjobi.

As well as the murder of Soloman Small, the murder of Yousef Beker was carried out by at least one member of the Roupell Park gang.

The issue of drill music fuelling violent crime and murders was said to have been well established, the general view of the genre being that it was all about threatening other gangs with violence and boasting about gang exploits and related things.

However, John Ogunjobi ‘s family denied that John Ogunjobi  had been involved with music or gangs with one of his family saying, 'He was retaking his GCSEs and was planning to go into engineering. He wanted to do an apprenticeship course. He played the organ. He cannot sing to save his life and he sure can't rap'.

A woman that saw the murder said, 'A car drove onto the estate and then the boy was left laying on the floor. I was absolutely terrified, his stomach had been slit open. The boy’s mum came driving down in an Audi and sounded the horn again and again. She was screaming ‘save him, save him, God save my boy’'.

Another woman who had lived on the estate for decades and who saw the emergency services arrive said, 'The boy was laying down. He looked like an angel, like he was sleeping'. She then lamented the news of violence and killings in south London, saying that it had not always been that way. She said, 'What’s going on? What is it? Why do they have to be killing each other? When I was growing up in the 70s, if there was a fist fight, that was it. There was no knives. All you’re doing is upsetting families. If you saw the mum and dad, it was heart-breaking'.

John Ogunjobi had gone to school at Park Campus in West Norwood.

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