Gangsters who killed two teens in drive-by shooting still at large 20 years on

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Marcia Shakespeare, mum of Letisha Shakespeare, and Beverley Thomas, mum of Charlene Ellis, who were killed at a New Year party (Image: Birmingham Post and Mail)
Marcia Shakespeare, mum of Letisha Shakespeare, and Beverley Thomas, mum of Charlene Ellis, who were killed at a New Year party (Image: Birmingham Post and Mail)

Gangsters involved in the killing of two teenagers 20 years ago have still never been caught, say their loved ones.

Pals Charlene Ellis, 18, and 17-year-old Letisha Shakespeare were gunned down in a drive-by shooting as they left a party in Birmingham.

Four of those responsible were jailed for life in what was one of Britain's most notorious slayings - but more remain at large.

Charlene's twin sister Sophie survived the attack despite being struck in the crossfire in the early hours of January 2, 2003.

Cousin Cheryl Shaw, then 17, was also injured.

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The killers were targeting rival gangster Jermaine Carty, a member of the Johnson Crew.

Gangsters who killed two teens in drive-by shooting still at large 20 years onCharlene Ellis (left) and Latisha Shakespeare (BPM)

Marcus Ellis, 24, and Michael Gregory, 23, of Birmingham, as well as Nathan Martin, 26, and Rodrigo Simms, 20, of Smethwick, were given a minimum of 35 years each in 2005.

Ellis is a distant relative of victim Charlene.

The hit was put out by The Burger Bar Boys, with a MAC-10 machine gun deployed.

Sophie told the Sun: “There were more people involved and they haven’t faced justice.

Gangsters who killed two teens in drive-by shooting still at large 20 years onThe car used by the gunmen who murdered the two teenage friends (Press Association)

“Witnesses never came forward because of a mix of fear of their lives and not trusting the police.

“I’m disappointed more never came forward."

She added that it must be noted that investigators ensured "the so-called untouchable were touched".

Sophie recalled seeing a red car driving slowly past the scene in the Aston area of the city, before she fell to the ground.

Charlene's mum Bev Thomas echoed her niece's belief that there are more people out there who haven't faced justice.

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She said this time of year is "really difficult".

Gangsters who killed two teens in drive-by shooting still at large 20 years onMarcia Shakespeare after speaking to students in Birmingham (BPM)

West Midlands Police said: “The deaths of Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare in the early hours of 2 January 2003 are still as shocking and tragic today as they were 20 years ago.

"The investigation was extremely complex and protracted with detectives working around the clock to bring those responsible to justice.

"Together with the CPS, we took great care to protect those who needed it to give evidence. This included anonymity as witnesses were in fear for their lives.

"This evidence was tested in court and subsequently tested in the Court of Appeal.

"Both times the evidence stood strong. In June 2019, a renewed application for permission to seek a Judicial Review was refused by the Divisional Court. We will always act upon any new information we receive.

"Our thoughts remain with the families of the victims."

Ryan Merrifield

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation