An alleged gang member from South Oxhey, accused of being involved in the botched revenge shooting of an innocent man, has been cleared.
Zeleke Forde, 30, denied murder along with two co-defendants Kervin Kavuala, 27, and Shane Lewis, 32, after 22-year-old Daniel Smith was gunned down in KFC in Harrow Road, Paddington in November 2010.
The electrician had been on his way back from a first date when he was shot in the chest with a 9mm pistol.
However prosecutors were unable to identify who had fired the fatal shot, during the trial at the Old Bailey.
They alleged the electrician had been targeted because he bore a “striking resemblance” to Stacey Theophane, a rival gang member believed to be responsible for the death of Tyno, the brother of Kavuala.
The hit on Tyno is believed to have been carried out by rivals from the Kensal Green-based Mozart Bloods, but to date no one has been charged.
The gang is locked in a bitter rivalry with the Family About Cash street gang, based around the estates of south and west Kilburn, and to which the defendants were said to have belonged.
Yesterday jurors at the Old Bailey cleared Forde, of Denton House, in Otley Way, along with Kavuala, of Granville Road, Kilburn, and Lewis, of Fairlight Avenue, Harlesden, of murder after just 55 minutes' deliberation.
A fourth man, 25-year-old Jonathan Yeboah was cleared of firearms charges in relation to the case.
Members of Mr Smith's family burst into tears as the verdicts were announced and had to be escorted from the courtroom.