Witnesses to alleged Tube shooting ‘didn’t see gun or hear shots’, court told

Barking station. Picture: Ken Mears

Barking station. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

None of the eyewitnesses to an alleged shooting on a Tube train heard shots or saw a gun, a court has heard.

Bienvenu Vangu is alleged to have shot a teenager from Newham on board a Hammersmith and City Line train arriving at Barking station on February 20.

Mr Vangu allegedly shot the boy - who was 16 at the time - after the teenager pursued him through the carriages wielding a kitchen knife following an argument, a jury at the 25-year old's trial at the Old Bailey.

But Det Sgt Neil Black, the British Transport Police officer overseeing the investigation, told the court on Tuesday, August 27, that none of the eyewitnesses who gave statements to officers had heard shots or seen a gun.

Det Sgt Black agreed after Neena Crinnion, defending, said: "Out of all the people spoken to on that night, nobody told the police they had heard the noise of a gun being discharged. Nobody told any officer that they had seen a gun either. Nobody had given any information about smelling a gun having been discharged."

The court heard that after getting off the train at Barking the teenager stumbled along the platform before collapsing.

One eyewitness, who gave him first aid, recalled in a statement that the boy said, "I am shot", but admitted she didn't hear a gunshot.

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However, medics later discovered a bullet lodged close to his spine after the boy was rushed to the Royal London Hospital with what was at first reported as a suspected stab wound.

Ms Crinnion told the court one unnamed witness described seeing the boy moving along the platform with a black male after exiting the train and that two white men had tackled him to the ground, pinned him down and got the knife off him before seeing he had been stabbed.

However, Judge Anne Molyneux said the submission was "unattributed hearsay".

Ms Crinnion went on to question why the investigating officers did not examine CCTV footage which could have helped identify the black male.

Det Sgt Black replied that there were no images of the teenager on the platform or any evidence of a black male with the teenager or of footage of him being tackled to the ground.

No further enquiries were made about a brown-haired white man described by another eyewitness as being involved in the attack with the teenager, the jury also heard.

Searches at properties in Beckton and Southend linked to Mr Vangu failed to turn up any items related to firearms or ammunition.

The court heard that all the blood in the carriages was Mr Vangu's and that ammunition recovered from the train had no finger print or DNA evidence.

It also emerged that the boy had made a telephone call after the alleged shooting to a person listed as Bellz on one of three phones he was found with.

When asked why detectives had not pursued the potential lead, the court heard Bellz was unidentifiable.

Mr Vangu, of Mariner House, High Street, Southend-on-Sea, pleads not guilty to attempted murder, possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition with intent to endanger life and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

The boy has been charged with possessing a blade and wounding with intent. His trial is due to start at Snaresbrook Crown Court on June 15, 2020.

Mr Vangu's trial continues.