Dawood inquest: Mother grills Hornsey Rise music studio manager who she believes killed her son
PUBLISHED: 16:42 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:41 16 February 2018
The grieving mother of David “Dawood” Robinson today had the chance to grill the man she believes killed her son at a tense inquest into his death.
Stacy Bernard told Aaron Williams he was “guilty as sin”, demanding: “Do you think it’s a joke that when you shot my son my mother died because her heart couldn’t take it?”
Mr Williams runs music studio Big House 101 in Sunnyside Road, where 25-year-old Dawood was shot four times on the night of August 20, 2016.
No one has been prosecuted over the murder despite numerous people being there when it took place. At the start of the inquest into Dawood’s death yesterday coroner Mary Hassell questioned whether three cousins who were inside the studio but denied seeing the gunman were refusing to talk out of fear.
And today Det Insp Darren Richards told the Old Bailey hearing police had twice tried to bring charges against Mr Williams, but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided there wasn’t enough evidence.
He said two witnesses put Mr Williams in the room prior to the shooting, as did his own mobile phone tracker. He was also one of only two people there on the night to offer no statement to police – the other being Dawood’s friend Teshan Lewis. One witness said the atmosphere in the room was “happy” but when Mr Lewis came in shortly before the incident Mr Williams became “angry”, and Mr Lewis left. Dawood then entered and was shot.
A firearms expert told the inquest a fifth and final bullet had been fired inside the studio room, missing Dawood and lodging in the building opposite instead.
Det Insp Richards said: “My submission to the CPS was if we know this to be true, someone inside the venue has shot David from inside the small studio. The only person that [could have been], if we believe corroborative accounts of other witnesses, is Mr Williams.”
He explained because the other witnesses hadn’t given accounts of the actual gunfire, perhaps out of fear, the CPS deemed them not to be reliable. Another issue was Mr Lewis’s refusal to provide a statement and the lack of any CCTV. Gun residue found on Mr Williams clothes during a search of his house was also submitted as circumstantial evidence, despite experts concluding it was not from the weapon used to kill Dawood.
After Mr Williams took to the stand, Ms Hassell explained to him he could choose not to answer questions if he believed they could incriminate him.
But when he refused to answer queries such as “how did you know David?” and “what happens upstairs at the studio?” it became clear how it would play out. Further questions about whether he owned a gun and whether he shot Dawood were also met with no comment.
“I can sit here for many hours and ask you questions but I don’t intend to do that if you have decided not to answer any,” Ms Hassell told him. “I put a question to you now that I will ask one more time. There is evidence pointing towards you being the person who shot David Robinson. Did you shoot him?”
He replied: “I exercise my right under rule 22 [of the coroner’s rules].”
“So you don’t deny that you shot him?” Ms Hassell hit back.
“I exercise my right under rule 22,” he said.
Ms Bernard, Dawood’s mother, then had her chance.
“Can you tell me your name, or is that ‘rule 22’ as well?” she said. “You’re being very silly. I know you know my son and how. I know what criminal activities you do.”
Mr Williams continued to offer no comment, as Ms Bernard went on: “Someone gets shot on your premises and you don’t think it’s something you should at least stick around for? You’re carrying on like a guilty man – that’s what I would do if I was guilty, exercise my right. You’re guilty as sin.”
She continued to grill Mr Williams for another 15 minutes. She added: “I thought a man had shot my child. Right now I’m looking at a two-year-old little boy. Do you think this is a joke? Go on, exercise your right again because you think it’s a joke leaving a little four-year-old girl without a daddy. Do you think it’s a joke that when you shot my son my mother died because her heart couldn’t take it?”
Ms Bernard went on: “You’re a selfish, ignorant young man. Guns are not a toy. You’ve destroyed not one life but a whole group of lives. You could have had a fight with him. You didn’t have to kill him.
“I’m sick and tired of black people killing black people like it’s some kind of joke.”
She claimed the Big House Studio was “nothing more than a drug house” but said she didn’t care what the pair had been up to.
“All I want is for me to be able to sleep in my bed,” Ms Bernard continued. “To be able to tell that child one day that justice was done. You can’t even say: ‘I didn’t do it.’”
On her son, she added: “Yes, I know he had criminal activities, but he also had a good heart. He is loved and missed by many. If I can’t get justice I will fight tooth and nail to get every gun off the road.
“Tell me something so I can give my granddaughter some kind of peace. Give me something, anything.”
At this point Mr Williams made his only comment to Ms Bernard: “I’m sorry for your loss but I’m a really nice guy.”
“David made me a cup of tea every morning,” she said. “I got a kiss on my head every single day. I got a hug every day.
“He helped me with college work. I miss that mother and son time. He used to do my shopping and I miss that. I miss hearing him laugh.
“I hope and pray for your sake that from now until this is over that you find a little bit of compassion. If you genuinely meant you were sorry for my loss then you will find a way to tell police what they need to know.
“You’re too young for that kind of life. You should be in school, should get a real job. You will never be Jay-Z so lose the studio and get a real job.
“I got 25 years with David. It’s not what I wanted but I’m grateful and just hope it doesn’t take that long for me to get justice.”
She finished by saying: “Please find a way to put all of us out of our misery.”
Ms Hassell swiftly determined Dawood’s death was an unlawful killing.