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'He was my life': Mum of murdered young man renews appeal

APPEAL: Omari Smith died from a single gunshot wound on May 22, 2010 (Image: Met Police)

THE MUM of a young man who was killed has renewed the appeal for information about his murder nine years after he was fatally shot.

Omari Smith, a qualified electrician from Paddington, was killed by a single gunshot wound on Harrow Road, West London, on May 22 2010.

Officers investigating his killing believe that his death was a case of mistaken identity.

After finishing work on the evening of Friday, May 21, Smith rang his sister and told her he was going to KFC.

He left the KFC around 12.15am on May 22 and was approached by at least one suspect armed with a gun.

He was shot in the back of his left shoulder and staggered back to the KFC and the bullet travelled to his chest, causing fatal injuries.

Officers believe that the intended victim was a young black of a similar age, build and dress to Smith, who walked into the KFC minutes before him.

Smith’s mother, Winnie, said: “Daniel was my light and life. He filled my heart with joy and was a son to be proud of. I am still very proud of Daniel. I miss him so much.

"He held me up whenever I was down. His favourite line was, ‘Mum, we can do it’ and I miss hearing him say that.

"It used to feel like we were a family of four that stood on four pillars. But nine years ago the biggest pillar was removed. That was my son, Daniel. He filled the gap in all our lives because he was there for all of us.

"Daniel, like the rest of us enjoyed family. Family meant everything to him.

"His sister is getting married next year. We talked about times like that and how he would walk her down the aisle. He was such an important part of our lives.

"Now I have two grandchildren and they will grow up without knowing their uncle and the amazing person he was. This is often very hard as the eldest one always talks about him and wants to know so much about her Uncle Dan. Moments like these are extremely hard and painful but they bring so much joy to our lives and that helps bridge the gap at times.”

Twelve people have been arrested as part of the investigation into Smith’s murder – four were acquitted in court and eight were released with no further action. Smith’s mother also spoke about the impact that the lack of justice had on her and pleaded with anyone who knows anything about her son’s killing to come forward.

"What has bothered me so much for the last nine years is how people can live with their conscience knowing that we have never had justice and the people who killed my son, an innocent man, still walk the streets.

"I would like to appeal to those who have information and know that these people killed my son. I would like for you to free yourselves, your minds, your conscience because I am sure, as hard as it has been for my family for nine years, it must be troubling for you too.”

DI Justin Howick, of the Met’s homicide and major crime command, said: “We are appealing for information nine years on because circumstances change. Witnesses who felt unable to engage with the investigation at the time may now feel more able to tell us what they know and ultimately provide some much needed peace for Daniel’s family.”

Anyone who can assist should call the Incident Room on 020 8785 8119; if you wish to remain anonymous please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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