A FATHER whose eldest son was "executed" because of a gangland feud involving his brother has told the Advertiser: "My boy is not to blame."
Umar Tufail, 25, was shot in the head outside his home in South Norwood in revenge for his brother Amir stabbing rival gangster Sanchez Thomas.
Thomas and his best friend Kyrone Daley, both 19, were jailed for a total of 47 years on Wednesday after being found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey.
Following the life sentences, Sajid Tufail said Amir's role in the lead-up to the killing had been exaggerated, adding: "I don't blame him for what happened – he's carrying enough guilt."
But he admitted there was a long-running "history" between his son - who goes by the nickname Renz and was a member of Croydon gang Block Cartel - and Thomas.
Their feud began when Amir threatened Thomas, known as Limitz and a member of rival street gang Squeeze Section, with a knife in Regina Road, in October 2011, before stabbing him in the arm near the sports shop where he worked in Tooting in March 2012.
"I know my son – he doesn't have it in him to stab anyone," said Sajid.
"The problem is the victim or victim's family don't get a say in the court process. Instead the criminals get to make the allegations and Amir can't defend himself. Sanchez Thomas obviously said a lot of things. But let's look at the facts. It was in broad daylight. Tooting is an extremely busy place. It was near where he worked. It was near the hospital and there was lots of CCTV. Amir wouldn't do anything like that. He didn't have any weapon.
"Amir has been honest with me and admitted he had a run in with Sanchez Thomas a few times. He beat him up once because he started on him. But that doesn't give him the right to execute his brother."
The court heard how Thomas pulled alongside Umar, who was sitting in a car outside his home, at around 4.30pm on July 15 last year.
According to Daley, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, Thomas repeatedly accused Umar – who looked strikingly like his brother – of "being Renz".
Even when Thomas established the man in the car was not his rival, he pulled a handgun from underneath his seat and shot him in the head.
Umar, who worked as a delivery driver and had no involvement in gangs, died the next day in hospital.
Amir, who was playing computer games in an upstairs bedroom, immediately believed he was the intended target, telling a police officer in the minutes after the killing: "I have a lot of enemies".
Daley and Thomas, both from Unity Close, West Norwood, were found guilty of murder under joint enterprise. Thomas was ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years and Daley will spend at least 22 years behind bars.
Sajid told the Advertiser after the murder that he would forgive his son's killers but has now changed his mind due to their lack of remorse.
He said: "I shall never forgive and never forget them. I didn't invite them into my life but they came in anyway and destroyed it.
"In some ways I wish they had the death penalty, but perhaps it's better for them to suffer in prison."