Two men have been sentenced to life after being found guilty for murdering Croydon father of four Devon Scarlett, 32, also known as Raymond Mitchell, following a row in a queue at a McDonald’s in Brixton April last year.
Horace Campbell, 28, was given a minimum of 32 years in prison and Liam Douglas-O’Callaghan, 18, was sentenced to serve a mimimum of 18 years for the murder of Scarlett.
He was shot twice on Marcus Garvey Way after the row had spilled out onto the street. He had entered the fast-food restaurant shortly before 6.30 am April 17, 2011.
The confrontation began after Scarlett intervened in an argument between two men who were also waiting for food. After he asked them to behave Horace Campbell got involved. He had made a nuisance of himself and became aggressive when a security guard asked him to finish an alcoholic drink he was holding and dispose of the glass.
The court heard eventually both men were escorted from the restaurant by security guards. Their argument continued outside.
Campbell told people trying to intervene that Scarlett had been “too disrespectful and was going to be shot in the head” and would be “filled up with lead”.
Campbell and O’Callaghan made a numbers of calls to each other, the last being at 6.48am when O’Callaghan arrived at nearby Atlantic Road.
Campbell followed Scarlett into Marcus Garvey Way and fired at him three times, hitting him twice. An emergency call was made by a witness at 6.50 am, following the shooting. Scarlett was taken to hospital but died at 7.15 am. A post-mortem examination revealed two gunshot wounds, one to the abdomen and one to the thigh.
Trident launched a murder investigation straight away, analyzing CCTV and mobile telephone records to identify the suspects. In the search of Marcus Garvey Way detectives found four bullet casings, probably fired from a “32 self loading pistol” which was not recovered. But they did find a plastic bag used to transport the weapon with O’Callaghan’s fingerprints on it.
Both Campbell and Douglas-O’Callaghan are from Tulse Hill and denied the charges. Judge Richard Hawkins told them: “The two of you quickly despatched Devon Scarlett without mercy.”
Detective Inspector Henry Lindsley of the The Trident Gang Crime Command said: “Unbelievably Devon Scarlett’s murder was triggered by the most minor of incidents that Horace Campbell chose to involve himself in.”
“His arrogance and obviously disregard for life is evident when even after Mr Scarlett walked away from him, he continued spoiling for a fight and escalated the matter even further by ordering O’Callaghan to bring a deadly weapon to him.”
“Campbell and O’Callaghan now have many years in prison to reflect on their actions and how they are responsible for young children being left without a father.”
The detective inspector paid tribute to the witnesses who came forward and gave evidence at the trial.