Four teenagers sentenced to life for ‘evil’ murder of Keon Lincoln

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Four teenagers including a 14-year-old gunman have been handed life sentences for murdering a schoolboy in a gang attack – as the victim’s mother branded them “heartless, evil monsters”.

In a victim impact statement read to Birmingham Crown Court, Sharmaine Lincoln said the killing of 15-year-old Keon Lincoln had left her feeling like “a piece of my soul has been taken from me.”

Passing sentence on Keon’s killers on Monday, Lord Justice William Davis said at least five offenders who arrived at the murder scene had been party to the use of a revolver.

A five-week trial was told Keon suffered eight sharp force injuries and a fatal gunshot injury to his abdomen outside his home in Linwood Road, Handsworth, Birmingham.

The teenager died in Birmingham Children’s Hospital, having been attacked with knives and fired at twice at about 3.35pm on January 21.

Italy-born gunman Yussuf Mustapha, aged 14 and from Birmingham, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 16 years.

He can now be named in media reports after a court order protecting his identity was lifted.

Mustapha’s co-defendants Tahjgeem Breakenridge, 18, and Michael Ugochukwu, 18, were both sentenced to life for murder with a minimum term of 19 years.

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old Walsall youth also convicted of Keon’s murder, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was ordered to be detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure and to serve at least 17 years.

Kieron Donaldson, 19, was sentenced to a 12-year custodial term for Keon’s manslaughter, having supplied weapons to those involved in the killing.

Donaldson was told he will be entitled to release after serving two-thirds of the sentence.

Prior to sentence, Keon’s mother submitted a statement to the court in which she said she was “in a nightmare that I cannot wake up from.”

Yussuf Mustapha
Yussuf Mustapha shot schoolboy Keon Lincoln dead (West Midlands Police/PA)

In the statement, read to the court by prosecution barrister Michael Burrows QC, the victim’s mother, who witnessed her son lying injured in the street after hearing gunfire, said: “The gunshots will forever ring in my ears, knowing that one of them ultimately ended my son’s life.

“No reason for me can ever justify such an evil act.”

Describing how she recalled comments made on the day of the murder and could see an image of her “beautiful boy’s body being lowered into the ground,” she said “heartless, evil monsters” had left her with thoughts and emotions she would have to live with for the rest of her life.

Passing sentence, Lord Justice William Davis said the murder had been “carefully planned and executed” using a revolver and a car stolen for use in the killing.

“It’s quite clear that all who came from the car were party to the use of the gun,” the judge said.

Donaldson, of Aston Lane, Perry Barr, was cleared of murder but convicted of unlawful killing after denying that he had assisted or encouraged any of Keon’s attackers.

Mustapha; the 16-year-old defendant; Breakenridge, of Oldfield Road, Balsall Heath, and Ugochukwu, of Twyning Road, Edgbaston, all denied playing any part in the killing.

The judge said of five offenders who emerged from the stolen car, one of whom has yet to be traced: “Four of them had knives with which they attacked Keon.

Teenage boy killed in Handsworth
The scene of the murder in Linwood Road, Handsworth. Credit: Matthew Cooper/PA

“One had a revolver. He shot Keon in the abdomen as Keon lay on the ground. That was the fatal wound.

“Less than a minute after they arrived the five men had left.

“Keon’s mother was in the family home. She heard the shots. She went out to find her son dying on the pavement. Not only has she been robbed of her son when he was only 15 but also she had to experience the trauma of watching him die.

“As she puts it in her victim personal statement ‘I feel the chill through my veins as I hug my boy’s ice cold body’.”

The judge added: “When a 15-year-old boy is killed in that way the first question will be why? That question has never been answered.

“That does not mean that the murder of Keon was motiveless. It simply means that neither the jury nor I have any notion of what the motive was.”

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