A man has been cleared of murdering a father of four who was shot through the back of the head in a case of “mistaken identity”.
Dean Edwards, 43, suffered “catastrophic injuries” after being shot with a self-loading pistol as he walked through Betts Park in Penge, south-east London, in the early hours of July 12 2020.
Taylor Purdy, 26, of Dulwich, south-east London, had denied any involvement in the murder and said he had no issue with anyone from the area.
A jury at the Old Bailey found him not guilty of the charge.
Previously, prosecutor Julian Evans QC had said: “Given the circumstances in which Dean Edwards met his death – shot once to the back of his head as he walked through Betts Park on his own, late at night – there can be no doubt, say the prosecution, that he was murdered.
“The shooting involved the deliberate, targeted discharge of a firearm at an unarmed man from behind. It was effectively an execution killing.”
It appeared the shooting “was not the result of him being specifically targeted”, Mr Evans said.
He added: “Tragically, it would appear that Mr Edwards was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Mr Edwards had been at a pub and was walking alone towards Anerley Station when he was targeted, jurors heard.
A 9mm cartridge case was found close to the body just off a path and a fired 9mm bullet was retrieved during the post-mortem examination.
During his police interview, Mr Purdy denied any involvement in the shooting and denied being a man in CCTV in the vicinity of Betts Park.
Mr Purdy said he did not know Mr Edwards and he was not in Betts Park on the night of the murder.
He said he may have been out with friends that night in a car.
Mr Purdy said he did not know why a cigarette butt bearing his DNA had been found in the area.
Mr Edwards’ family appeared distraught after the jury delivered its not guilty verdict on Friday afternoon.