Source: United Kingdom London Metropolitan Police
A teenager has been jailed for stabbing to death a motorcycle enthusiast who was being filmed for a music video after his palm print was found at the murder scene.
Brandon McNeil, 19 (01.11.02), of Lollard Street, SE11, was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 24 years at the Old Bailey on Friday, 27 May for the murder of 23-year-old Shane Jerome.
He pleaded guilty to murder at the same court in March as well as attempting to cause grievously bodily harm with intent to another man and possession of a bladed article.
The court heard that Shane, alongside some of his friends, had been hired to star in a music video being shot in Brixton on 21 July 2021.
Shane was a keen motorcyclist and was in demand for such shoots because he owned a distinctive Yamaha MT07 motorbike.
As part of the shoot, a convoy of high-performance vehicles, including two Lamborghinis hired from a company and Shane’s MT07 motorbike, were to drive a 15-minute loop around Brixton Market and the surrounding streets whilst the artists performed for the camera. The filming was known about in advance and attracted a number of observers.
At 20:17hrs, the convoy had almost completed its loop and the vehicles were waiting at traffic lights in Brixton Road when McNeil, accompanied by four other unknown men, ran towards Shane with a Rambo knife in his hand.
Surprised, Shane tried to back away but he could not get far as his bike was stationary between a bus and one of the Lamborghinis. Shane raised his arms and tried to push McNeil away, but there was nothing he could do to stop McNeil’s ferocious surprise attack.
Terrified onlookers and participants of the shoot saw what was happening and ran for their lives.
McNeil then got ready to attack his next victim and he placed his left palm on the nearby Lamborghini before charging at one of Shane’s friends who was driving a quadbike. Luckily, the victim was able to duck out of the way and escaped unharmed.
Meanwhile, the men with McNeil had been throwing items at the other vehicles in the convoy.
McNeil, who is linked to a gang that operates in Brixton, and his friends then fled the scene and ran in the direction of Brixton Village.
Shane managed to run about 20 yards to a private patient transportation ambulance that had been waiting at the traffic lights. He opened the passenger door and immediately collapsed. The driver of the ambulance, who was not a paramedic, called the emergency services.
Officers, the London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance attended but despite their best efforts they were unable to save Shane and he died at 20:45hrs.
Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command launched a murder investigation, with assistance from the Met’s Forensic Services.
A CCTV review established that the suspect had placed his palm on the nearby Lamborghini. Examination of the vehicle by the forensic team and rapid work by the Met’s fingerprint examiners led the palm print to be matched to McNeil.
Cell site data from a mobile telephone attributed to McNeil also placed him in the Brixton area between 19:49hrs and 20:24hrs, later moving to the Herne Hill area. The phone stopped being used from 22:17hrs that night – after McNeil removed the phone’s SIM card.
The mobile phone and removed SIM card were found at McNeil’s home address when he was arrested on 29 July 2021. He answered ‘no comment’ to all the questions put to him during his police interview.
The court heard that McNeil has previous convictions for possession of a bladed article and when officers searched his address they found a terrifying collection of knives – however the one used to murder Shane was not found.
At sentencing, the judge ordered for all the knives to be destroyed.
When officers examined his mobile phone, they found three videos recorded less than a week after Shane’s murder that showed him playing with knives and bragging about his skill with such weapons. They also found a video that had been sent to McNeil showing the aftermath of Shane’s murder.
In a statement, Shane’s family said: “Shane was our only beloved son, brother, uncle and boyfriend. He meant the world to us and he played a massive part in our lives. Shane was a hardworking young man who had his whole life ahead of him, ambitions to fulfill and many more memories to make. He was always progressing in life, he started off in the building trade at the age of 16 when he left school and then progressed on to being a scaffolder, which was his passion.
“Shane was very family orientated, he loved spending time with his loved ones and the people close to him. Shane was very much a homebody. He was everybody’s best friend in his own unique ways.
“Shane always talked about becoming a dad and having a family of his own. He wanted to follow his dad’s footsteps and have his first child at the age of 24 with his girlfriend, but sadly that opportunity got taken. We have all been deprived of the next generation and carrying on the family name as he was our only son.
“No words could ever express the heartache of losing such a close loved one, not only has Shane had his life taken, it’s also taken the rest of ours. No justice will ever compensate what we have lost as a family.
“Shane was an innocent member of the public at no fault of his own, who was brutally murdered on the 21 July 2021 in a senseless attack whilst riding his motorbike, fulfilling his passion. He will forever be missed and will always hold a special place in our hearts.”
Detective Sergeant Fleur Halsey, the investigating officer from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “McNeil, who was only 18 at the time, armed himself with a knife that day and went out with the intention of attacking and, at the very least, seriously harming people involved in shooting the music video.
“The first person McNeil reached was Shane, who despite his best efforts, was unable to escape McNeil’s brutal attack which was carried out in broad daylight in front of terrified onlookers. McNeil had already fatally injured Shane, but he was intent on causing even more bloodshed and he narrowly missed Shane’s friend who was able to dodge out of the way.
“McNeil had an unhealthy obsession with knives and clearly did not think about the consequences of carrying them. McNeil had no choice but to plead guilty to his heinous crimes due to the overwhelming evidence we, and our Forensic Services colleagues, collected against him. He now faces a very long time behind bars where he can give considerable thought to his actions. We will not tolerate violence and we will continue to robustly target those who carry weapons.
“We believe the attack was linked to gang rivalry, as part of the music video was filmed on a gang’s ‘territory, but Shane was not linked to any gangs and was the intended target. Shane had his whole life ahead of him and was passionate about motorcycles. He died while simply doing something he loved – showing off his beloved Yamaha. Our thoughts remains with Shane’s friends and family who have been dignified and shown tremendous courage throughout.”
Operational Forensic Manager Chris Steele, from Forensic Services, said: “This case captures the strong evidential value in team work between Forensic Services and investigation teams in the Met.
“The well-established forensic management processes in place provided co-operation between the forensic front line, digital services and the investigation team to identify a strong line of enquiry. This led to a timely identification of a previously unknown murder suspect. McNeil was quickly apprehended as a result and was later left with no option but to plead guilty to the charges.
“McNeil placing his hand on the Lamborghini provided an opportunity for Forensic Services to target the area and get a finger/palm print identification for the murder suspect.
“The value of traditional fingerprint identification remains as important and relevant today as ever at all levels of crime.”