On the same day that a gunman was shot dead in the King's Road, the story of Magda Pniewska's senseless death in a skirmish between armed teenagers last October was relayed by prosecutors at the Old Bailey.
Ms. Pniewska was caught in a "Wild West"-style shootout, the jury heard yesterday. Upon finishing her shift at Manley Court nursing home in New Cross, the 26 year old care worker walked home. She was mere yards from her front door when shooting broke out between members of two rival gangs. Ms. Pniewska was shot in the head and killed instantly.
Two 17 year old boys were arrested, and one charged with murder, attempted murder and possessing a gun to endanger life. Prosecutors accept that the boy "had not fired the fatal shot", although firing indiscriminate shotgun blasts at a retreating foe in a residential area seems a surefire way to guarantee carnage.
There's a temptation to believe London's gun crime is a gang-related problem that most decent folk are unlikely to be involved in. These two incidents offer sobering reminders that, for all we love about this city, a grim underbelly of mindless, random violence persists, and can strike anyone. We wish our new mayor success in his electoral pledge to crack down on this scourge.
Image courtesy of chrisjohnbeckett's Flickrstream