Jailed for life: 'General' who ordered shooting of schoolboy

Kadeem Blackwood

Victim: Kadeem Blackwood, 15, was shot dead in Claxton Street, Derby

A judge condemned Britain's youth gang culture today as he sentenced a 'general' who ordered the shooting of a schoolboy to life in jail.

Michael Hamblett-Sewell was ordered to spend a minimum of 23 years behind bars for the murder of a 15-year-old who 'dissed' his mother.

The role of the internet in encouraging a 'gang mentality' was also criticised as the 20-year-old was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court.

The victim, Kadeem Blackwood, was blasted with a sawn-off shotgun when two warring groups turned up for a showdown in a city park.

The teenager belonged to Derby's Yunga Browning Circle Terrorists, while his killer was a member of bitter local rivals the A1 Crew.

Kadeem, whose street name was 'Snipes', bled to death moments after he was hit in the chest and stomach by eight buckshot pellets.

Hamblett-Sewell, of Allenton, Derby, had denied murdering him at the city's Caxton Street Recreation Ground in November last year.

But a jury found him guilty on the basis that he told the youth who pulled the trigger, Callum Campbell, 19, to fire the fatal shots.

Jailing the pair, Mrs Justice Dobbs told Hamblett-Sewell: 'It is said you find it difficult to show your emotions, but you have - anger at being "dissed".

'In this case gang loyalty rules, it seems. You refused to identify members of your gang,  and you probably thought you would be respected for it.

Michael Hamblett-Sewell

Jailed: Youth gang 'general' Michael Hamblett-Sewell

'But what you don't seem to realise is respect has to be earned. You and your friends have a warped sense of what should and shouldn't command respect.'

The judge said Kadeem died simply for showing 'a bit of cheek', adding: 'His crime was that by his tone of voice he had tried to "diss" you.'

Peter Joyce QC, prosecuting, told how Hamblett-Sewell ordered Kadeem's killing ahead of a pre-arranged clash between the two gangs.

'In common parlance, Kadeem had "dissed" - shown disrespect - to Hamblett-Sewell's mother, and for that there was to be a fight,' he said.

Kadeem's mother overheard the teenager exchange angry words with rival gang members on his mobile phone ahead of the confrontation.

Mr Joyce said she recalled his 'agitated' mood as he talked about the possibility of the A1 Crew bringing a 'strap' - or gun - to the fight.

When the gangs finally squared up to each other Kadeem approached Campbell, pointed to the shotgun and asked him: 'What's that for?'

Kadeem Blackwood

Gang member: Kadeem poses in a school photo and, right, wearing dark glasses and clothing as he steps out as part of the Yunga Browning Circle Terrorists

Mr Joyce told the jury: 'The man with the gun then pointed it at Kadeem, who was about a bus-length away from him when he was shot.'

Giving evidence, Hamblett-Sewell denied ordering Kadeem's murder and instead claimed he urged Campbell to lower his weapon and not fire.

Campbell, of Osmaston Park Road, Derby, was also jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 21 years before being considered for parole.

In mitigation, his barrister William Waldron QC criticised the role of the internet in influencing youngsters and boosting the gangs.

He told the court: 'It remains a fact that for his generation at the touch of a button you can be in communication instantly with friend or foe.

'It is a fact that the internet can lead to the glorification of the gang mentality and the violence often associated with it.'

Ashley Campbell, 24 - no relation - also of Osmaston Park Road, who admitted assisting an offender, was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

After the case, Assistant Chief Constable Peter Goodman, of Derbyshire police, said officers were working hard to tackle Derby's gangs.

He said: 'Since Kadeem's death we haven't had any incidents involving a firearm being discharged in the city. But we aren't naive or complacent.

'I want all young people to look at the consequences in this case. The people involved all had the best years of their lives ahead of them to enjoy.'

Yunga Browning Circle Terrorists

Crime scene: Police and forensics at Caxton Street, Derby, after the shooting

Detectives describe the A1 Crew and the BCT as 'hierarchical in nature' and believe both are connected to the supply of Class A drugs.

Mr Goodman added: 'Young people must realise some of those they may have looked up to on the street as a role model are nothing of the sort.

'There is a massive opportunity for people to learn a lesson and make sure we do all we can to prevent another young person's life being wasted.'

Kadeem's father Steven added in a statement: 'Nobody should have to bury their child when they should still have their life ahead of them.

'Not one day has passed by since without me having thoughts of my son, his death and the sense of pointlessness in the waste of such a young life.

'The Kadeem I wish to lovingly remember was always an active, energetic child from a very young age and was very adventurous and outgoing.

'I hope his death won't be in vain. The gang mentality needs to be curtailed. Nobody else should lose his or her life through this type of action.'

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