Islington cannabis dealers guilty of murdering drug rival

TWO cannabis dealers who ambushed and killed a father-of-two in the street during a drugs feud are facing life sentences.

Julian Edwards, 21, of Aubert Road, Highbury, and driver Mustafa Demirtas, 21, of Errol Street, Old Street, targeted Michael McCarthy, 19, after spotting him walking his dog.

They pulled up in a car to confront him before Edwards stabbed him five times including a fatal wound to the heart.

The killers then drove off over the victim’s body as he lay bleeding to death in the road in Stoke Newington.

Edwards and Demirtas were both convicted of murder today (Wednesday) after blaming each other for the killing on November 19 last year.

Demirtas, a devout Muslim who claimed he had no idea of any murder plot, reacted in fury to the unanimous verdicts.

He branded the jurors “f***ing kaffirs” - meaning unbelievers - and told them to “rot in hell”, adding: “I shall see every single one of you on the day of judgement.

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“You are sentencing an innocent man to prison to life. I wish I did kill him. I didn’t kill no one.”

Judge Peter Thornton QC said he would sentence the pair tomorrow.

The victim’s parents, who were sat in the well of court, reacted to the verdict with relief.

In an impact statement, Mr McCarthy’s mother Maureen said: “Michael was no angel but he was our angel and did not deserve to die like that on the street.”

The Old Bailey heard Mr McCarthy was attacked in revenge for abducting and torturing one of Edwards’ associates six weeks earlier.

On October 6, 2009, a gang of masked men grabbed Christopher Ward from the street and took him to McCarthy’s home in Lister Court, off Yoakley Road, Stoke Newington.

Mr Ward was beaten up, asked to reveal the location of drugs and money and questioned about the whereabouts of “Jay” - Julian Edwards.

He spent four days in hospital after the attack and later told Edwards what had happened and pointed out the flat.

Another associate of Edwards told Mr Ward: “Don’t tell the Old Bill, we will sort it out.”

A few weeks before his death, McCarthy confided in his cousin Susan Glover that his life was in danger.

She said: “He told me that he and some friends held up some guy for money and drugs.

“Basically the people he held up found out it was him and he was in trouble.”

Edwards and Demirtas scouted the area of Yoakley Road at least once before the murder.

At around 11pm on November 19 they spotted Mr McCarthy taking his dog for a walk in Yoakley Road towards Stoke Newington Church Street.

Just before he reached the junction they pulled up in front of him and got out the car.

Witnesses saw the second man - Edwards - stab the victim five times.

One blow penetrated the victim’s skull just behind the ear and another tore through the right ventricle of his heart.

CCTV pictures recorded the Punto driving over the victim as it sped away from the scene.

The next day Edwards and Demirtas dumped the car in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, and set it on fire.

During the trial Edwards claimed he was at home with his girlfriend and said he had given his mobile phone to Demirtas earlier that day.

Phone records show the handset was at or near the scene at the time of the murder.

Demirtas admitted driving the car but claimed he had no idea Edwards was going to stab Mr McCarthy to death.

Edwards and Demirtas both denied murder.