Scotland Yard admits investigation into murder of black man seven years ago was ‘unacceptable’

Scotland Yard has admitted its investigation into the murder of a young black man was “unacceptable” and acknowledged mistakes by its officers.

Critical errors were found to have been made by seven officers and the Metropolitan Police themselves during the investigation into the shooting and stabbing of Ola Raji in Peckham, London, who is believed to have been the victim of a mistaken identity.

Mr Raji, 20, was murdered as he rode his bicycle along an estate in Peckham, south London, near the center set up in April 2015 to commemorate murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor.

The Yard’s Specialist Crime Professional Standards Unit, which investigated the murder investigation, said an apology should be made to Mr Raji’s relatives and recommended that the murder investigation be reopened.

Ola Raji (middle) with his sisters Ruki and Zainab. The 20-year-old was gunned down and stabbed while riding his bike across a property in Peckham, south London, seven years ago

Any new investigation into Mr Raji’s cold-blooded murder is also informed that a potential new key witness has been tracked down by his family himself, Mail Online can reveal.

The internal investigation found that officers initially did not find a set of keys on the victim, prompting the family to change the locks on their home, only for the keys to be in his pockets “months later” after being there all the time.

“This affected your confidence in the investigation as to how something so obvious could have been overlooked,” the family was told in the report, which went on to say that the failure to find the keys was “regrettable.”

It was also discovered that the assassination probe lost a file of evidence collected by detectives that was never mislaid.

During a search of Mr Raji’s home following a murder, police also failed to locate a driver’s license that did not belong to the family, which was later confirmed to have been there during the search.

The review of the murder investigation also revealed that there had been poor communication and updates on developments with Mr. Raji’s grieving mother and family, who were not personally told by an officer that the case was dropped due to a lack of compelling evidence.

But officials told the inquest that racial or cultural prejudice played no role in the hunt for Mr Raji’s killers, as had been claimed by his family.

However, the inquiry recommended that officers “note the importance of maintaining evidence and records.”

It also asked the Met to notify officers working on the murder investigation that going forward they will be reminded of “their responsibility” to keep relatives informed when a case is closed.

Mr Raji’s family said their complaints about police mishandling of the murder investigation have been confirmed and are calling for a thorough new investigation.

The murder victim’s sister, Zainab, 35, said: “After MailOnline published a story about my brother’s murder last year, we received new information that the police simply did not follow up.

Sisters Ruki Ware (left) and Zainab Raji said the Metropolitan Police would have given the case more attention if the victim had been white

“They must now be forced to thoroughly investigate who killed Ola and arrest those responsible.

“We have received information about a new witness that we would like police to pick up and interview this individual who lives near where Ola was killed but incredibly has never spoken to detectives.”

She said her family believes the investigation would have been more thorough if the victim had been white rather than black.

She added: “They didn’t take it as if there had been a white man who was murdered and it might have been viewed as more shocking.

“It was ‘another day, another murder’. We know London’s homicide rates are ridiculous, but they’re not looking at my brother’s murder with intent and a fresh set of eyes. It was just another day at the office for her.

“The fact is that there are two people walking the streets who have committed the murder of a black person.

“If it had been a murdered white person, it would have been magnified more. There would have been fear to let those two people take to the streets.’

She said her brother, a staunch Manchester United fan, was watching Champions League football on TV when he received two calls on his mobile phone. After the game ended, she said he rode his bike to meet someone, but he didn’t seem stressed or worried.

She said: “He was murdered a few minutes from where he lived with our mother. But there’s a 13-minute period where we don’t know where he was before it happened. Nobody knows or has told us.

His family indicates he had no criminal record and believes he was mugged in a case of mistaken identity.

Two suspects were caught by CCTV fleeing the crime scene in East Surrey Grove around 10.30pm on 21 April 2015 and are believed to have escaped by car. Three people were later arrested, but none were charged.

Zainab said: “We want the case to be reopened. We will strive to bring everyone involved in his assassination to justice until justice is achieved. We have so many unanswered questions.’

Her sister Ruki added: “After Mail Online published an interview with us on the seventh anniversary of Ola’s murder in April, we learned that a woman living on the street had witnessed the murder and seen two men ran away.

‘We know where this woman is and have told the police. She was never interviewed, and if this case comes up again, we’d like the police to speak to her. We can show you where she lives.

Crimestoppers have announced a £20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Ola’s killers. In the picture Ola with his nephew

“All we want is justice for the murder of our brother. The police have shown little empathy towards us, but we really want the people who killed Ola to be locked away.

“There are people out there who have committed murder and are still free.”

Scotland Yard said the victim’s family correctly exercised their right to appeal to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

A spokesman added: “As the matter is therefore still ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Crimestoppers have announced a £20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Ola’s killers. Scotland Yard admits investigation into murder of black man seven years ago was ‘unacceptable’

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