Gang Member Jailed For Revenge Shooting

19th December 2018

A notorious member of Birmingham's Burger Bar Boys has been jailed for murdering a man in a revenge gang shooting.

Tafarwa Beckford, 36, shot dead Derek Myers, 25, outside the city's Big Bang snooker club in October 2015.

Beckford - previously accused of three other murders - killed Mr Myers in retaliation for his friend being shot and stabbed outside the club.

Police said it was "one of the most significant" convictions in 20 years.

Such is his reputation, Beckford - also known as Dreads and Charmer - stood trial under his middle name, Theodore.

He was previously accused of the murders of Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare on New Year's Day in 2003 and Christopher Clarke in 2000.

Beckford, of Duchess Road, Ladywood, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 32 years.

Det Ch Supt Mark Payne, from West Midlands Police, said the conviction was "one of the most significant in Birmingham over the last 20 years"

It is the third time Beckford has been tried for the murder of Mr Myers, who was shot at close range in the chest and jaw, as previous juries failed to return verdicts in November 2016 and April 2018.

This trial heard there had been a "brewing argument" between factions of the Burger Bar Boys outside the snooker club in Hockley at about 04:30 GMT on 30 October 2015.

Judge Patrick Thomas QC told Birmingham Crown Court Beckford had "swaggered" into the club "looking for trouble".

His friend Marcus Duffus was stabbed and shot five times during the argument outside and, while he lay seriously injured on the pavement, Beckford followed the group and shot Mr Myers.

Judge Thomas said Beckford knew Mr Myers was armed and mistakenly believed he had shot Mr Duffus.

The murder was "obviously... a gang shooting", the judge said, and Beckford "characteristically fled the scene"

"Any sentence the court passes must demonstrate that the people of this country, the people of this city, will not tolerate armed gang warfare on their streets," the judge added.

He said there had been "a blanket of silence to conceal the truth from the authorities".

Despite more than 150 people being in the club, only a "handful" came forward with information.

Because of a lack of evidence, Beckford - who is the step-brother of singer Jamelia - was acquitted of the murders of Ms Ellis and Ms Shakespeare, who were shot outside a hairdressing salon in Aston on New Year's Day in 2003.

Mr Clarke, meanwhile, was stabbed and beaten with Champagne bottles in a Birmingham nightclub in March 2000. Beckford was convicted of affray.

Police described him as an "iconic criminal" who "saw himself as above the law".

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