Dawood inquest: Men inside Hornsey Rise music studio at time of shooting accused of lying after denying they saw gunman
PUBLISHED: 20:48 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:46 16 February 2018
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Three cousins who were in a Hornsey Rise music studio when David “Dawood” Robinson was shot and killed were accused of lying after telling a coroner they did not see the gunman.
The inquest into Dawood’s death opened today at the Old Bailey and saw Sanjay Swaby, Lamar Cox and Jerome Cox take the stand.
The trio were all at the Big House 101 music studio in Sunnyside Road on August 20, 2016, when Dawood, 25, was shot five times.
They all saw him lying on the floor of the studio room but not one of them called police or medics, leading senior coroner Mary Hassell to tell them they should be appalled at themselves.
Music producer Mr Swaby was working with an artist who was in the booth, while his cousins were having a few drinks.
Despite police believing there were numerous witnesses, no one has ever been charged with killing young father Dawood, a former Islington Arts and Media student who converted to Islam while in prison in 2011 in an attempt to turn his life around.
This month police called for witnesses to break the wall of silence and offered a £20,000 reward to anyone who could name the gunman.
At the inquest Ms Hassell was told by a forensic scientist that the fifth and final shot came from inside the room the cousins were in and lodged in the building opposite.
The three witnesses all said the only people in the studio at the time were Mr Swaby, his client and Lamar Cox.
Ms Hassell repeatedly asked them whether they were refusing to name the gunman out of fear and later concluded their evidence was not credible. Dawood’s mother also had the chance to grill the three men and accused them of lying.
Responding to Mr Swaby’s statement that he was “focusing on his work” and didn’t turn to look at the gunman when he ducked under the desk at the sound of gunfire, Ms Hassell said: “Either another person came into the room and stood in the doorway and shot David and then made good their escape so quickly you didn’t see them, or David was shot by someone in the room: Jordan [the client] coming out of the sound booth or by Lamar Cox or by you.
“One possible explanation is you did see somebody and you know who that person is and you don’t want to say.”
Mr Swaby contradicted his 2016 police statement about the position of Dawood’s body, saying the original statement was wrong and could have been “typed incorrectly”.
Lamar Cox told the inquest he ducked for cover when he heard a shot and didn’t look up to see who the gunman was. At that point Dawood’s mother said to him: “I don’t know why you’re lying. I hope he’s worth it. What’s the point of coming here if you’re not going to tell the truth?
“When you lot saw my son or killed him you also killed my mother. She had cancer and David used to look after her.
“You didn’t even have the guts to go to the police. You wasn’t man enough. You hid like little children until police came knocking on your door.”
Jerome Cox, who was in the reception area on his phone when Dawood was shot, told police in 2016 he saw another man go into the studio before Dawood, and that man was the same person who had gone in earlier.
He also said he saw a man run out. But he told Ms Hassell he had never said the words printed in his statement, which he had signed, and that all he saw was “a shadow” passing him.
The three cousins all ran out of the studio after the shooting. Not one of them called police or even an ambulance, despite not knowing whether Dawood was dead.
“You crossed over my son’s body and heard a groan and never picked up the phone,” his mother told Mr Swaby. “Go to a pay phone so they can’t trace you. Do something. You could have picked up the phone 24 hours later – anything to make me think you had a bit of compassion.”
She later addressed all three, saying: “Your statements do not make sense and I’m not letting this go. You need to start talking. You’d rather go to jail and protect this murderer.
“I’d rather any of you had said: ‘I’m too scared to get involved’. I’d have empathy.
“I just want this murderer off the street so another mother doesn’t have to go through this.”
Ms Hassell discharged all three witnesses ahead of tomorrow’s conclusion. She told them: “Your evidence to me today I find quite shocking.
“On your own description of events you left a man bleeding on the floor when you didn’t know whether he was alive or dead and not one of you called an ambulance.
“I leave that to your own conscience because I find that absolutely shocking. I don’t blame David’s mother one bit for her anger or her distress.
“I am appalled and you should be appalled at yourselves too. I have not found the evidence of the three of you credible.”