Mother's YouTube Appeal Over Son's Murder
It's been three years since Daniel Omari Smith was murdered by a single gunshot on Harrow Road in west London.
Daniel, a qualified electrician from Paddington was 22 years old (19/03/1988) and was killed in what can only be explained as a case of mistaken identity.
Officers believe that people may have seen what happened and recognise the perpetrators of this crime but are reluctant to come forward.
On the third anniversary of Daniel's death, officers have issued a specific appeal on YouTube for witnesses to contact them.
Lifestyles and allegiances can change over the years and people may now want to help get justice for Daniel's family.
On 21 May 2010, Daniel finished work at 16:50hrs. It was a Friday and he had arranged to meet a friend from work.
On his way home Daniel rang his sister, Cherrell and said he was going to the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fast food restaurant.
The person police believe was the intended victim, a young black man of similar age, build and dress to Daniel went into the KFC shop, minutes before him.
Daniel collected his food and left the KFC. He walked towards his car. As Daniel was at the driver's door he was approached by at least one suspect holding a gun. He was shot in the back of the left shoulder/upper arm. The bullet travelled into his chest causing fatal injuries.
After being shot outside the vehicle, Daniel staggered back across Harrow Road into KFC where he collapsed. He died at the scene.
Harrow Road is a bustling area of London even at around midnight on a Friday night/Saturday morning. A number of people in the area have been spoken to but it is believed several people may still not have come forward.
In particular two men in a Vauxhall Corsa, one of whom went in to the KFC shortly after Daniel was shot, are yet to be identified. As is a man in a dark top with lighter clothing underneath and light headgear, seen on CCTV walking past the KFC at 0.13hrs. The man then came back past the KFC less than 15 seconds after Daniel left. He can be seen on CCTV looking in the direction of Daniel's car. This person has never been identified.
Officers are seeking to find out more about what happened that night. Daniel was a innocent, decent young man caught in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
The Metropolitan Police Service is offering a reward of up to £20,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person(s) responsible for Daniel's murder.
The gun used in the murder of Daniel Smith has since been used in two further shooting incidents in the West Midlands area. Officers would also like to appeal to anyone who could help them recover this firearm.
Numerous investigations and enquiries have taken place over the years. On Wednesday, 11 July 2012, officers put their best case forward but four men were found not guilty at the Old Bailey.
Officers believe that the result of this trial may have acted as a catalyst for the suspects, witnesses and the community to talk openly about Daniel's murder, who committed it and why.
Trident officers continue to appeal to witness or those who hold vital information to come forward and help identify the murderer.
Detective Inspector Garry Moncrieff said:
"On 19 March 2013, Daniel would have been 25 years old. After suffering their loss and a trial, it is now the third anniversary of Daniel's murder and the pain of what happened remains strong for Daniel's family and in particular his mother and two sisters.
"For the last three years we have been re-iterating that Daniel was not connected to any kind of crime. I want to emphasise to potential witnesses that we can protect them. The Metropolitan Police are committed to protecting people in the community with the courage and conviction to step forward.
"We are appealing for someone brave enough to help Daniel's family. We cannot solve this case without the help of people in the community.
"If you are not coming forward due to loyalty, this really is misplaced. Daniel was shot from behind, in a cowardly act. This could have been your son, brother, husband or friend. I urge you to look into your conscience and do the right thing.
"Gun crime can create a lot of fear but if you know those responsible, by not coming forward you are allowing these cowards to continue to ruin people's lives and increase this fear."
The following is a transcript of Daniel's mother's appeal from the YouTube video released today, 22 May:
"My name's Winnie and I would like to share with you an anniversary that I have coming up. Unfortunately, it's the anniversary of my son, Daniel. Daniel Omari Smith.
"Daniel was 22 years old, went out on the 22nd of May 2010. Daniel was shot in the back as he tried to put the take away into his car, to make his way home.
"I wish the people who know exactly what happened, because there were people there that saw what happened, I wish they could walk a mile in my shoes and I am sure that would allow them to do the right thing.
"We sat through the trial and the pain that that brought back for us, only to watch the jury deliver the verdict of not guilty. That was like they killed him all over again; only that time we didn't have a body to put in the ground.
"They ripped my heart out, because the people who killed him, they don't know how much they have taken from us. They don't know how they have turned my life upside down and that of my girls because he was their role model, he was my right hand, he was my soul mate, he was my everything.
"People have moved on with their lives in the last three years. People have even said to me, "Oh I thought you would be moving on now". But that's because they don't know how much it hurts. If only the people that knew who did this to Daniel would do the right thing and come forward and speak the truth of what happened that night. And maybe in some of your words, I can start to move on. Until then I still have the sleepless nights. I still have the visions of him walking through the door. I would like to appeal to those of you who do know who killed Daniel to come forward, speak to the police.
"People are afraid and I can appreciate that but if these people are not put away then the next appeal may be you, not me, because they have already taken my son. Or someone could be making this appeal for you, so please, I do know by talking to the police that they can protect you and a lot of things can be done. So please, for Daniel, for me, my family, for your conscience and for all our sakes, please. Do the right thing and let's get these people off the road and behind bars, where they belong.
Any witnesses or anyone with information are asked to call the Trident incident room on 0208 358 0248 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
In total 12 people have been arrested in connection with the investigation. Four were charged but acquitted at court; eight have been released with no further action.