A young NHS worker was knifed to death in a frenzied attack by four gang members looking for targets in enemy territory in a “petty but fatal game of one-upmanship”, a court has heard.
Marketing graduate David Gomoh, 24, was killed on April 26 last year at the height of the first wave of the pandemic.
Mr Gomoh had been working in supply and procurement for the health service when he was killed.
After suffering catastrophic injuries in the attack in Freemasons Road, Canning Town, east London, Mr Gomah managed to get to his feet and stumble the short distance home, but he bled to death in front of his horrified family.
David Ture, 19, of no fixed address, Vagnei Colubali, 22, of Kendal Way in Cambridge, Muhammad Jalloh, 19, of no fixed address, and a 17 year-old boy from Telford, Shropshire, are on trial for murder.
The Old Bailey heard on Friday that despite having nothing to do with gang violence, Mr Gomoh was chosen almost at random by members of the Northside Newham Gang to send a message to the Custom House and Beckton gangs.
All four defendants are allegedly members of or associated with the Northside Newham Gang.
The jury was told that before the fatal attack, the four defendants had allegedly targeted another male in the same area but that the man – who has never been identified – managed to escape.
In the seconds before the attack, Mr Gomoh had been on the phone to his girlfriend and the court was told she heard someone demand “Where are you from?”, followed by the sounds of a struggle.
Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC said: “What had David Gomoh done to deserve such a fate? He had the misfortune to live in an area of London that is frequented by rival gangs.
“Rival gangs who are involved in a violent feud with each other, rival gangs who like to attack each other, and rival gangs who like to brag about the devastation they have wrought upon each other.”
Mr Glasgow said the murder was not a case of mistaken identity as the attackers did not care whom the killed, only where they came from.
The prosecutor said that as well as giving chase to the first man, who managed to escape, the four defendants – travelling in a stolen Dodge Calibre – had pulled up to another man but decided to leave him alone.
Mr Glasgow said: “The first target who managed to escape may not realise how lucky he was but there can be no doubt that he would not have avoided serious injury – or worse – if he had not been so light on his feet.”
The four defendants face a further charge of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent for the failed attack against the unknown man.
A post-mortem examination found Mr Gomoh’s carotid and brachial arteries had been severed, his liver had been cut through, and that some of the wounds were as deep as 12.5cm and sliced into the bone.
Mr Glasgow said: “The consequences of having a number of gangs who operate in a relatively confined area are not difficult to divine – rivalry, hatred, violence and death have all played their part in the ongoing dispute between these groups.
“And it was this ongoing feud that ultimately led to the brutal murder of David Gomoh, a young man who had nothing to do with this petty but fatal game of one-upmanship that is played out so often on the streets of London.”
The jury heard that on the evening of the killing, the four defendants met at a hotel in Stratford before travelling by minicab to a quiet residential street in Plaistow.
Each was carrying a bag, the court heard, believed to contain a change of clothing.
In Plaistow they allegedly changed their clothes in a flat in a side street before collecting the Dodge, which had been stolen about 10 days before and fitted with fake plates.
Colubali was said to be at the wheel as they headed for Custom House territory.
Mr Gomoh was chosen as a target at around 10.22pm, the jury heard, and Jalloh, Ture and the 17-year-old carried out the fatal attack and returned to the vehicle within a matter of seconds, while Colubali remained in the car.
All four defendants deny murder and a second charge of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.
The trial, which is expected to last five weeks, continues.