Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad in 'Highly Organised, Utterly Cold-Blooded Murder'

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Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad in ‘Highly Organised, Utterly Cold-Blooded Murder’

In a shocking and meticulously planned crime, two hitmen have been convicted of the cold-blooded murder of Robert ‘Fox’ Powell, a 50-year-old grandfather. The brutal killing took place in Roydon, Harlow, in the early hours of June 13, 2020, leaving the community in shock and his family devastated.

Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad In 'Highly Organised, Utterly Cold-Blooded Murder'

Nana Oppong, 43, and Israar Shah, 39, have been found guilty of the murder after a thorough investigation by Essex Police. The pair orchestrated a drive-by shooting, targeting Mr. Powell as he left a party at around 4:45 am. He was shot eight times and succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad In 'Highly Organised, Utterly Cold-Blooded Murder'

Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad In 'Highly Organised, Utterly Cold-Blooded Murder''highly Organised, Utterly Cold-blooded Murder'
Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad In ‘highly Organised, Utterly Cold-blooded Murder’

The chilling incident involved a Ford Kuga on cloned number plates, which stopped near Mr. Powell before an individual stepped out and fired the fatal shots. Two nearby women were also injured by the gunfire. The getaway vehicle was later traced to an industrial estate in Epping, where it was abandoned and subsequently collected hours later.

Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad In 'Highly Organised, Utterly Cold-Blooded Murder'

The Breakthrough

Investigators cracked into EncroChat, an encrypted messaging service, revealing crucial evidence tying Oppong to the murder. The chats included discussions about a specific type of 9mm ammunition used in the killing and plans for a previously botched attempt on Mr. Powell’s life before June 5.

Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad In 'Highly Organised, Utterly Cold-Blooded Murder'

Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad In - Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad In 'Highly Organised, Utterly Cold-Blooded Murder''highly Organised, Utterly Cold-blooded Murder'
Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad In ‘highly Organised, Utterly Cold-blooded Murder’

Following the shooting, Oppong deleted numerous messages on EncroChat, an attempt to cover his tracks. The encrypted conversations also linked him to a conspiracy involving cocaine supply and money laundering.

Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad In 'Highly Organised, Utterly Cold-Blooded Murder'

Shah, on the other hand, was linked to a Toyota Prius found at his home. The car was seen in convoy with a Vauxhall Zafira, which acted as a support vehicle during the murder. The Prius was used to scout the party, ensuring the hit was carried out as planned.

Hitmen Gunned Down Grandad In 'Highly Organised, Utterly Cold-Blooded Murder'

Fleeing the Scene

Both Oppong and Shah fled the UK in the days following the murder. Oppong was apprehended in Morocco in September 2022, attempting to enter the country using fake documents. Shah was located in Spain in December 2022 and extradited back to the UK in March 2023.

The pair were tried at Woolwich Crown Court for murder and possession of a firearm. Oppong faced additional charges of causing grievous bodily harm and possessing a prohibited weapon. Both were convicted on all counts, with Oppong admitting to conspiring to supply Class A drugs before the trial. Sentencing is set for Friday, May 31.

A Mother’s Grief

Mr. Powell’s mother paid tribute to her son on the second anniversary of his death in 2022. She said: “My son was an awesome person with a smile that still warms my heart. He was a father of three children and a grandfather of two. He was a well-loved son, brother, nephew, uncle, cousin, and friend to many. We all love and miss him.”

She lamented the loss of her son’s future plans and dreams, cut short by the heinous act of violence.

Investigation Insights

Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings, who led the investigation, described the murder as unusually sophisticated and brutal. “This was not a spontaneous act of violence, but rather a planned and carefully co-ordinated execution,” he said. “Oppong held a grievance against Robert Powell and was committed to seeing him killed.”

Jennings praised the dedication of the investigative team, who spent countless hours reviewing CCTV footage and analyzing phone records. “Oppong is a committed and high-level criminal who thought he could evade justice using his knowledge of law enforcement tactics and encrypted messaging,” he added.

Conclusion

The convictions bring some measure of justice to Mr. Powell’s family, who have shown immense dignity throughout the lengthy investigation and trial. As the community grapples with the loss, the case serves as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of organized crime and the tireless efforts of law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice.

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