A drug dealer was convicted today of supplying a gun to Mark Duggan only minutes before the police shooting that sparked the London riots.
The guilty verdict means the spark that led to millions of pounds of damage across the capital can be revealed as a deadly drunken nightclub row. Police intercepted Duggan because they feared he had armed himself to take revenge for the killing of a close friend, Kevin Easton.
Today at the Old Bailey a jury decided Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, 30, handed a pistol in a shoebox to Duggan 15 minutes before Duggan was shot dead by officers in Tottenham on August 4, 2011.
In January 2011, eight months before the riots, Easton and Warren Allen, who had been friends, fell out on a drunken night out in Old Jewry.
Three months later, Easton stabbed a close friend of Allen in the Boheme club in Mile End Road. Easton, 23, was then stabbed himself four times, including a thrust through his heart. He tried to escape down the stairs of the club but collapsed and died.
The underworld grapevine pointed to Allen, who had been in the club at that night, as the killer. But he was later cleared by a jury.
Duggan was shot after police stopped his minicab near Tottenham Hale station. He had emerged from the vehicle allegedly holding the weapon, a BBM Bruni Model 92. It was found five metres from the car, although Duggan’s family insist he was unarmed at the time.
Duggan’s fingerprints were found on the shoebox but neither his prints nor DNA were on the gun itself, which had been modified to fire 9mm bullets.
Statements from officers describing Duggan wielding the gun have angered his family before an inquest into his death due to start in September.
Hutchinson-Foster, 30 of Forest Gate, will be sentenced next month at the Old Bailey by Judge David Radford.
He had pleaded not guilty to passing Duggan the gun, but was convicted by a 10-2 majority at a second trial. The first, at Snaresbrook crown court, had failed to reach a verdict.
An inquest into Mark Duggan’s death, which was supposed to start this week, is expected to begin in September.
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