Three men jailed for life over murder of teenage footballer in gang feud

 Sichem Mangituka-Mpelo, 22, from Holloway, Jaden McGibbon, 22, of Crouch End, Robel Michael, 22, of Islington
Sichem Mangituka-Mpelo, Jaden McGibbon and Robel Michael, all 22, have been jailed for life. Credit: PA

Three men behind the murder of a young footballer who was shot in the head amid a long-standing gang feud have been jailed for life. Taylor Cox, 19, died in hospital after he was shot in an alleyway in Hornsey, north London, on June 8 2021.

He had been stabbed in the past, and was a member of the A Team gang associated with the N19 London postcode, the Old Bailey Heard. The three killers, Robel Michael, Jaden McGibbon, and Sichem Mangituka-Mpelo, were part of the rival NOL gang, which was involved with drug dealing.

They'd set out with at least one gun after learning Mr Cox and a friend were on a "ride-out" on their turf. During the shooting, at least four .32 calibre bullets were fired from the same gun, likely to be a revolver, which was never found.

Taylor Cox Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA

Following a retrial at the Old Bailey, Michael, 22, of Islington, McGibbon, 22, of Crouch End, and Sichem Mangituka-Mpelo, 22, from Holloway, were found guilty of his murder. Jailing the men for life on Friday, Judge Rebecca Trowler KC set a minimum term of 27 years for Michael and 26 years for McGibbon and Mangituka-Mpelo. McGibbon’s then-girlfriend Dunila Idrissi Oukili, 21, from Camden, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and jailed for two years. She had rented a flat for McGibbon to lay low in, bought a new telephone Sim card and arranged transport and a change of hairstyle for him. Two misfired cartridges and cases had also been recovered from her handbag four days after the incident.

Robel Michael, 22, who along with Jaden McGibbon, 22 and Sichem Mangituka-Mpelo, 22, was found guilty of murdering Taylor Cox Credit: Met Police/PA

Members of Mr Cox’s family, who sat through two trials, returned to the Old Bailey to see the defendants sent down. A statement from Kerri Cox described her son as a “kind, happy and loving child” who was close to his two siblings. She said he had “dreamt of becoming a footballer”, having played for Finchley Revolution Football Club before being signed to Borehamwood Football Club at the age of 16. At the time of his death, he was studying to be a mechanic at college in St Albans, she said.

Ms Cox said: “Taylor was always very thoughtful and put others before himself. If he had spare pocket money he would share it with his little sister. “On June 8, Taylor was playing computer games at home. Little did we know when he left home he would never come back.

Jaden McGibbon, 22, was found guilty of murder Credit: Met Police/PA

“Taylor was shot in the head and as soon as I heard I went to the hospital to be at Taylor’s bedside. “I had to go through the traumatic experience of having to identify Taylor as no one was sure it was him. “The loss of a child in these circumstances is the hardest thing – there are no words to describe the pain and loss I feel every day. His life was taken too soon for no reason.” She added: “We miss him dearly. It’s broken all our hearts.” On the fate of the three men who killed her son, Ms Cox added: “Whatever sentence they get will never be enough. They will still be able to speak to their family on the phone whereas we will never get to speak to Taylor again.”

Sichem Mangituka-Mpelo, 22, was found guilty of murder Credit: Met Police/PA

Mitigating for McGibbon, Nicholas Corsellis KC said the case should serve as a “warning” to young men against becoming involved with gangs. He said the shooting was “an eruption of violence stemming from gang culture”. Sentencing, Judge Trowler said: “Taylor’s death has taken a heavy toll on his family in different ways. “There is no punishment that can bring Taylor back or undo the irreparable damage caused by his murder.” “I can recognise the family’s dignity and courage that they sat through two trials and the strength they have shown.”

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