Unsolved Murders

Yousef Sonko

Age: 18

Sex: male

Date: 31 May 2017

Place: Tagus Street, Toxteth, Merseyside

Yousef Sonko was shot in Tagus Street, Toxteth on 2 June 2017 at about 8.30pm.

He was found at the back of some shops that faced Lodge Lane and taken to hospital but died shortly after. He had been shot once in the head.

It was said that he had been shot at five times after two males arrived in Tagus Street on bicycles. One of the bullets had hit Yousef Sonko in the head whilst the other four had hit a set of gates. Yousef Sonko had been with a group of people at the time and the gunman had been firing at the group.

Bullet casings found at the scene linked the murder weapon to three other shootings across Merseyside. The weapon was described as a self-loading hand gun.

The police said that they thought that the key to solving the crime lay in the local L8 and wider communities and named a person that they said that they wanted to speak to in connection with the murder, however, they said that they had been unable to find the man. The man was said to have frequented Wrexham in North Wales and Cumbria and several properties were searched in 2017 in a bid to find him.

They said 'someone somewhere knows who has done this and I ask them to search their conscience and do the right thing and give us the information' and said that the attacks 'clearly show that organised criminals still have ready access to firearms despite extensive work undertaken by Merseyside Police'.

A number of other people were also arrested at the time but no charges were made.

It was thought that the motive behind his murder might have been over a stolen motorbike. It was also suggested that his murder was connected with an argument over a scrambler motorbike crash that took place a couple of hours before his murder. It was said that two men had been knocked off a scrambler motorcycle when a bicycle was thrown at them, causing them to crash in Upper Warwick Street just after 6pm.

The police later found two burnt out bicycles on a piece of land off Upper Stanhope Street and Corinto Street in Toxteth that they thought might have been connected with the murder. They had been set on fire with petrol and a petrol can was found nearby.

It was reported that gang members had afterwards armed themselves and gone out looking for retribution for his death. It was also reported that rivalries between criminal factions in the L8 area had spilled out into the Toxteth area during the previous few weeks.

Three people were arrested at the time in connection with the events connected with the murder:

  1. 21-year-old from Toxteth on suspicion of murder.
  2. 17-year-old on suspicion of murder.
  3. 16-year-old who was charged with attempted wounding prior to the murder and later admitted attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.

It was heard that the incident in Upper Warwick Street shortly before the shooting had been in response to an earlier incident that took place outside the Sakoon Cafe on 22 May 2017 at about 3.30pm. CCTV footage showed two groups of rival gangs arguing outside the cafe with scuffles and later showed a man throw a bicycle at another man that was wielding a spade.

The events were later connected with the incident on 2 June 2017 in which three youths were seen in CCTV riding along Windsor Street on bicycles one of whom was seen to stop and then throw his bicycle into the path of a motorcycle causing it to crash. The passenger on the bike was seen then to get up and get into a black Audi car that had been following the motorcycle.

It was two hours later that the two youths on bicycles went into Tagus Street and fired the shots into the group of youths killing Yousef Sonko.

Yusuf Sonko had been a student.

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