Four men deny killing champion boxer 'who asked clubbers not to smoke in courtyard'

James Oyebola

'Perfectly polite': British boxing champion James Oyebola died after being shot in a Fulham club

A former British boxing champion was shot dead at a Fulham club after asking a group of men to stop smoking, the Old Bailey heard today.

One of the killers had smuggled the gun into Chateau 6 by hiding it down his trousers, the court heard.

Within minutes he started firing during a Sunday party night where only cursory security checks had been made by the club's doormen.

James Oyebola, 46, was shot in the back of the neck and died in hospital without regaining consciousness, the jury was told.

Mr Oyebola, who won a bronze medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games after losing in a semi-final to Lennox Lewis, was described as being 'pleasant, calm and happy' before the shooting.

But witnesses said 6ft 9ins Mr Oyebola was surrounded by at least three men after asking clubbers not to smoke in the club's courtyard area.

DJ James Cornwell saw Mr Oyebola being jostled by three men and thought it looked like 'a giant against kids'.

But moments later he saw the gunman raise his arm and fire shots.

Another witness, Jermaine Ford, said Mr Oyebola had warned him not to smoke in the area and described him as being 'perfectly polite', causing no offence whatsoever, the court heard.

Four men deny murder in July last year - only three weeks after the introduction of the nationwide ban on smoking in public places.

Jeremy Donne QC, prosecuting, told the court that all four knew a gun had been brought to the club and might be used.


Dispute continues: Oyebola won bronze at the 1986 Commonwealth Games

'The reason for the killing was particularly senseless - Mr Oyebola had become involved in a dispute over smoking inside the club,' he said.

'In the course of the resulting confrontation with these four defendants one of them produced a gun and fired four bullets with two striking the hapless victim, Mr Donne said.

'Several doormen were employed by the club and fairly cursory searches of the customers were conducted at the front door.

'For men it involved a brief pat down, which was unlikely to discover a gun secreted down the front of someone's trousers.'

Mr Oyebola was a friend of the club owner and his son James Mason.

Kanyanta Mulenga, 23, of Putney, Rene McKoy, 20, of Battersea, Cyle Carth, 18, of Wimbledon, and Dean Francis, 24, of Wandsworth, deny murder and affray. The case continues.

Chateau 6

Crime scene: Chateau 6 night club in Fulham Road where Oyebola was shot

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