Alan Cartwright sister: ‘We can’t believe murder happened over a bike’

Miss Smith and her brother, Alan

Miss Smith and her brother, Alan - Credit: Archant

“I would get a knock on my door and he’d randomly turn up. I’d be like: ‘Hi, Alan, what do you want?’ He would say: ‘I just want to see you.’ That’s how he was.”

It is how Cherrie Smith remembers her younger brother, Alan Cartwright, before his murder on Friday, February 27.

She was speaking on Monday afternoon, the day her family’s two-week court ordeal ended. After Alan’s killer, Joshua Williams, was sentenced on Friday following his trial, they had to sit through one more morning at the Old Bailey on Monday. Williams’ accomplices, 19-year-old Shaquille Roberts and a 17-year-old boy who can’t be named, were sentenced for their part in the Caledonian Road bike robbery.

Seven months on, during which time Miss Smith and Alan’s mum Michelle Watson gave birth to a daughter, the family is now in a position to grieve and attempt to recover from its trauma.

Sitting in her mum’s living room in Huntingdon Street, off Caledonian Road, Miss Smith, 22, said: “I don’t think any of us have grieved properly. It’s all happened so quick since that night in February. We’re reminded of it every time a Friday comes round. But I think we have a better chance of grieving now the trial is over.”

She recalled a “funny, polite and hands-on” brother who was interested in woodwork, DJing, fitness and, of course, bikes.

At the time of his murder, Alan was cycling with friends to “Critical Mass” a monthly event where bike riders meet to cycle through London in memory of those who died on the road.

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The City and Islington College pupil was also looking forward to getting a moped on what would have been his 16th birthday in June.

Speaking of the trial, Miss Smith said: “Everybody knew Alan wasn’t gang affiliated, so we went in with no idea about motives for the killing. We can’t believe it happened over a bike.

“The most shocking bit of the trial was listening to the pathologist’s report. That was harder than having to listen to the nonsense, in my opinion, of the defence’s case.

“Williams, and the two others, mean nothing to us. Williams is such a small person. You hear about people that commit these crimes and imagine monsters. He looked timid. You just don’t know what’s going on in people’s minds.

“We’re really happy about the stern punishment, but at the same time nothing is long enough. We don’t get Al back.”