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Woman's heartbreak at fruitless five-year hunt for nephew's killer

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ON TUESDAY, shortly after 9pm, Juliet Mitchell lit a candle in memory of her nephew Ricardo Cox.

Exactly five years before, the 20-year-old was walking home from a KFC in West Croydon when he was mistaken for a gang member and murdered in a drive-by shooting.

"It feels like yesterday," said Ms Mitchell, who has now been told by police the hunt for Ricardo's killers has been "closed".

"I remember my sister came to my door and told me that Ricky was dead.

"I will never forget the look on her face. I thought: 'Why Ricky? He was a good boy. He didn't deserve this."

Ricardo was with his brother Oneil when a stolen car pulled up to them at the junction of Mitcham and Derby roads on November 26, 2008.

A man leaned out and asked whether they "knew the Byrd gang" and then shot Ricardo in the stomach.

The occupants of the car have not been caught despite police offering a £20,000 reward.

That has now expired, and while the detective leading the case this week reiterated his appeal for witnesses, Ms Mitchell, of Windsor Road, Thornton Heath, has been told the search has been shelved.

"They phoned me and said the case has been closed," she said.

"I was told they know who did it, but they don't have enough evidence to prosecute them.

"I feel hopeless, but I'll never give up.

"Next year or maybe five years down the road, someone will talk and I know the police will be ready."

Ricardo had no link to gangs. In fact he supported anti-gun crime campaigns.

The popular former Croydon College and Coulsdon College student was on a gap year when he was shot. He had applied to study information technology at university.

"It was his dream to go and I saved all my money to send him there," said Ms Mitchell.

"I had to use that money to bury him. I keep thinking about that."

An inquest into Ricardo's death was due to be held yesterday.

But Ms Mitchell accepts it will tell her nothing she does not already know.

What would your family think? JULIET asked to directly address those involved in Croydon gangs. "Think before you act" she said. "Killing people and prison is not the answer. "You didn't just hurt Ricky by killing him, you destroyed his family and loved ones. "Think about your family and how they would feel if they were in my shoes."

Woman's heartbreak at fruitless five-year hunt for nephew's killer


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