Corrupt New Malden solicitor faces five years behind bars
A corrupt solicitor who tried to persuade an innocent teenager, later brutally murdered, to take the rap for a gun deal gone wrong, has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Samuel Ogunro, 17, was shot in the head and his body found dead in a burning car on the eve of his trial two years ago, after he refused to change his plea to guilty.
Solicitor Pritesh Naik, 33, of Malden Road, New Malden, was the ninth man to be convicted of charges connected to his murder.
Samuel was murdered after he accompanied old school friend Ola Apena and others on a drive to Aylesbury in August 2009, where Apena planned to buy a gun.
Detectives believe Apena planned to use Samuel’s age and good character to transport the gun back to London on the train.
But Trident officers were watching and arrested the group and the sellers of the gun.
Their trial was due to start on June 1, 2010, but in the run up Ola Apena and his brother John Apena put pressure on Samuel to plead guilty and take all responsibility.
Ola Apena arranged for solicitor Naik to contact Samuel on February 3, 2009, and on February 8, 2009, Samuel visited his offices.
By February 10 that year, Samuel had applied to Reading Crown Court to change solicitors to Naik and indicated a wish to change his plea to guilty.
Police inquiries following Samuel’s murder indicated a flurry of telephone calls between the Apena brothers, Samuel and Naik, in the build up to the trial.
But as the trial drew nearer it became clear Samuel had changed his mind about taking the fall.
Samuel was last seen alive shortly after 9pm on May 31, 2009 – the day before the start of the trial – when it is thought he was lured to his death by a telephone call.
Ola Apena was sentenced to 32 years behind bars in July 2011, for ordering and organising Samuel’s murder.
Naik, 33, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to five years imprisonment on Wednesday at the Old Bailey.
Other gang members jailed included Ola Apena, 21, of Rotherhithe, and John Apena, 23, who were sentenced to 32 years after being found guilty of crimes including conspiracy to murder.
A 17-year-old from Peckham was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice by burning the car but cleared of murder.
Investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Damian Allain, said: “Samuel was executed in a cold-blooded and truly evil act just so these men could escape justice.
“His family have had their lives ripped apart by his death and I hope that today’s convictions go in some way to help them come to terms with their loss.”