Aston Shootings: 10 years on

The mothers of 17 year old Letisha Shakespeare and 18 year old Charlene Ellis have been speaking to Heart, 10 years after their daughters were gunned down in the Aston area of Birmingham.

Four men were convicted of murdering the two friends at a party at a hair salon on January 2nd 2003. The members of the Burger Bar Boys  had driven past the salon and opened fire with a sub machine gun, hitting both girls several times in a botched revenge attack. 

Charlene’s twin sister, Sophie, and their cousin Cheryl Shaw were also shot, but survived.

Gang members Nathan Martin, 26, Marcus Ellis, 24, Michael Gregory, 23, and 20-year-old Rodrigo Simms were all jailed for life after being convicted of murder and attempted murder.

They were sentenced to a total of 132 years in prison.

Aston Shootings

Charlene's mother Bev Thomas and Letisha's mum Marcia Shakespeare now speak to young people and families at risk of being involved in gangs. They've spent much of the last 10 years campaigning against gun crime.

Marcia told Heart 'I look at life in a very realistic way. I believe that once you are on the earth you are here for a reason. What happened, happened for a reason. Knowing the girls were murdered, there had to be some kind of change. It wasn't going to be done for me. It was a case of either sit back and be dependent on anti-depressants, or get up and say come on, we are hear to save a life, make a change.

What happened was unheard of in the UK at the time, one of the worst violent crimes we had seen. To be in it, you have to take something so negative and make a positive.'