Hitman guilty of double murder after shooting dead innocent mum-of-nine and sleeping nephew in East Finchley
A hitman who shot dead an innocent mother-of-nine and her sleeping nephew is facing life in prison after it took five trials to convict him of the double murder.
Obina Ezeoke, 28, snuck into the East Finchley home of Annie Ekofo, 53, in the early hours of the morning and shot dead student Bervil Kalikaka-Ekofo, 21, as he slept.
Ezeoke then turned the gun on Mrs Efoko when she rushed out of her bedroom to investigate the disturbance.
The drug dealer was first put on trial over the September 2016 double murder in 2017, but the case had to be aborted due to the judge being struck down with chronic back pain.
Juries in the re-trial and a third trial were deadlocked on their verdicts and a fourth trial was ordered, but that was then abandoned when the coronavirus crisis struck.
At the Old Bailey this morning, a fifth jury finally delivered guilty verdicts against Ozeoke, condemning him to two mandatory life sentence.
The court has heard that the shooting may have been a revenge hit after footage of Ezeoke was shared on social media, but the intended target is believed to have been Ms Ekofo’s son Ryan Efey. Ezeoke insisted in his defence case that he was not the gunman.
Mark Heywood QC described how “an assassin crept noiselessly into a second-floor family home” as six occupants slept.
He said: “The killer moved to his left and into a bedroom. There ahead of him was a young man, sleeping on a thin mattress on the floor under a duvet.
“For the killer this was as good a target as he could expect – a young man of the house of just the right age.
“He crept forward, gun in hand. He raised the muzzle and placed it almost against the back of the sleeping, dreadlocked head.
“And then, with a deliberation and purpose that was as much cowardly as it was murderous, he pulled the trigger.”
After Ezeoke had unleashed “hell”, Mrs Ekofo went into the hall, dressed only in her underwear, jurors were told. Instead of waving his revolver to scare her off, the killer pulled the trigger for a second time, the court heard.
Mr Heywood told jurors that “cowardly” Ezeoke had gone to the flat deliberately to kill one of the teenage boys in the family as “part of a vendetta of violence”.
He said: “His hate was such that he did not falter when confronted by a second person – he simply took her life as well.
“In fact both lives were innocent. The young man he killed was a cousin, visiting at short notice, for one night only.”
Ezeoke had admitted dealing in Class A drugs, and said he was the victim of a serious assault in 2014, after which he switched to dealing cannabis instead.
The key evidence against him centred around firearms residue found in Ezeoke’s car, which was used in the getaway, and on his top recovered from a female friend’s home.
Ezeoke told successive juries that he had an alibi for time of the shootings.
He claimed his Vauxhall Meriva had been leased from a man who took it back the day before the murder.
He attempted to explain the presence of the gunshot residue saying the vehicle, which was registered under false details, must have been used in a previous shooting.
The fifth jury to try the case deliberated for 41 hours over eight days to find Ezeoke of Cambridge Heath, east London, guilty of two counts of murder.
Mrs Justice Cutts remanded him in custody until sentencing on October 1.