CCTV helped secure conviction of Homerton High Street killers

Two brothers were convicted of the murder of 28 year old Craig Thoms, from Leyton in East London and sentenced to a minimum of 27 years in prison on 27/2/08 at the Old Bailey. Evidence captured by Hackney Council CCTV operators proved vital in securing the prosecutions.

39 year old unemployed man Junior Byron Gordon, of no foxed abode and his brother Rohan Gordon, aged 37 from 18 Brooking Road, E7 were both sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Mr Thoms, who was shot on Homerton High Street on 17/2/07. Junior’s girlfriend, Odete Worrell, a hairdresser of no fixed address was also sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for assisting an offender.

In the early hours of the morning on 17/2/07, Mr Thoms had pulled up in his grey Fiat Punto near to Eko s Bar and Restaurant on Homerton High Street. Before he had got out of the car the Gordon brothers approached him and opened fire. Craig was then able to reverse his car away at speed before crashing into a stationary and unattended Range Rover. The two gunmen chased the vehicle and continued to fire shots.

Craig got out of the car and Junior and Rohan ran away towards Digby Road. They then returned, approached Craig on the floor and shot him at point blank range before leaving the scene. Ms Worrell, disposed of Junior’s clothes, leaving them in a unit in SE1 and in a bin bag dumped in SE15.

Police, including armed officers and the London Ambulance Service were called to the scene at 05:34. Mr Thoms was taken to Homerton Hospital and pronounced dead at 05:54. A post mortem took place on 18/2/07 at St Pancras mortuary and gave cause of death as a gunshot wound to the body.

The attack and escape from the scene by the brothers was captured on CCTV, which provided crucial information during the trial. The two brothers changed their pleas to guilty mid-trial due to the overwhelming evidence against them.

In sentencing, Judge Forrestor said: "I believe that this was a planned murder committed in cold blood. Armed with firearms you lay in wait for Mr Thoms who was defenceless and alone. The seriousness of this foul crime is particularly high."

Chief Superintendent Steve Dann, Borough Commander Hackney, commented on the role CCTV played in bringing about the convictions, and said: "This result demonstrates yet again the effectiveness of CCTV in bringing dangerous criminals to justice. Operators from Hackney Council s CCTV unit played a pivotal role in capturing this incident on film, saving police many hours of investigative time and ensuring that the perpetrators of this crime were identified and quickly taken off our streets."

Cllr Alan Laing, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods also paid tribute to the role of the CCTV operators in this case and announced the introduction of 55 new cameras in various locations across the borough, he said: “The fact that CCTV played such a vital role in securing these convictions proves what a significant tool CCTV is in helping to get violent criminals off our streets. As well as capturing the attack, CCTV operators followed the brothers as they fled from the scene of the crime, which was particularly useful to the police.

“Our increased use of CCTV is one of many ways we can make sure that the residents and visitors of Hackney feel safe in their homes, places of work and on their streets. We employ skilled operators who work very closely with the police. In 2007 almost 2,700 arrests were made using CCTV.”

The new cameras are located in several parts of Hackney, including Gilpin Square, on various streets in South East Hackney, London Fields, Woodberry Down, Stoke Newington High Street and Church Street Upper Clapton Road.


Notes to editor
•The Council currently owns, maintains and operates 168 CCTV cameras. Hackney CCTV Service has one of the most sophisticated systems in the country. The images from the cameras are monitored by fully trained and Police vetted staff 24 hours per day 7 days a week. The Control room is operational all year and is only accessible by authorised staff.

•The regional Police control room can also receive images from the cameras, as well as three local Police Stations, to enable them to respond to incidents and prioritise their resources.

•All cameras are carefully positioned to respect the privacy of the public, and will not overlook any areas where privacy can be expected. Signs are displayed stating that CCTV cameras are in operation, as required by The Data Protection Act 1998.