Assassin is found guilty of double murder after shooting dead mother-of-nine, 53, and her nephew

An assassin who crept into a family home and shot dead a mother-of-nine and her sleeping nephew in a botched revenge hit faces life in prison after being found guilty of the double murder.  

Student Bervil Kalikaka-Ekofo, 21, and his aunt Annie Ekofo, 53, were executed by Obina Ezeoke, 28, after he sneaked in through their unlocked front door in September 2016.

Ezeoke carried out the revenge hit after footage of him being attacked was shared on Snapchat by rivals – including Ms Ekofo’s son Ryan Efey, 22, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Efey was probably the intended target but Ezeoke decided he would kill anyone in the flat.

Juries in May 2018 and March last year failed to reach verdicts, despite the majority of jurors supporting a conviction.

In 2017 trial was stopped after a judge was forced to withdraw with agonising back pain.

Prosecutors made the exceptional choice to pursue a fifth trial after his last hearing collapsed due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Student Bervil Kalikaka-Ekofo, 21, (left) was shot in the back of the head by the assassin, prompting his aunt Annie Besala Ekofo, 53, (right) to investigate. She was shot in the chest

Traditionally, a defendant was only ever tried twice if a jury could not agree.

Crown court convictions can only be passed if jurors give a majority verdict of 11-1, 10-2, 10-1 or 9-1. 

Defence solicitors for the killer had argued against a fifth trial, saying ‘enough is enough’. 

In previous legal argument, Ezeoke’s lawyer James Scobie QC had said: ‘We are in uncharted territory. To carry on this case would be oppressive.

‘If there is an expression to summarise this case it is really ‘not proven’.

‘The reality of it is that is where we are after near on four years of trials.’

‘Some might say to give a fifth opportunity was in itself a step too far.

‘The system has not been able to produce a result one way or another.

‘Is it really right and proper for this defendant to actually have the appalling prospect of a fifth attempt trying to get a conviction over the line? We submit, enough is enough.’

But prosecutor Mark Heywood QC successfully argued the ‘public interest’ in a case ‘of this exceptional kind and such gravity’.

A trial at the Old Bailey heard Ezeoke crept into the family home and targeted the aunt and nephew as an act of revenge, after a rival gang, including Ms Ekofo's son, attacked him and posted the video on Snapchat

A trial at the Old Bailey heard Ezeoke crept into the family home and targeted the aunt and nephew as an act of revenge, after a rival gang, including Ms Ekofo’s son, attacked him and posted the video on Snapchat

Ezeoke fired a bullet into the back of psychology student Bervil’s head with a vintage Western-style revolver as at her apartment in East Finchley, North London.

He then wheeled around and blasted the victim’s aunt Annie Ekofo, 53, in the chest with the Smith and Wesson.44 when she came out of her bedroom dressed only in her underwear.

Neither Bervil nor Annie were the intended targets, the court was told.

Ezeoke carried out the killings as part of a ‘vendetta of violence’ before fleeing the scene in a Vauxhall Meriva at around 6.30am in the morning.

He maintained that he had been on Grahame Park estate in North London with four friends at the time of the murders.

The killer claimed that gunshot residue particles discovered in the getaway car, which evidence showed had been bought and insured by him under a false name, came from a different shooting when others had used the vehicle.

But an Old Bailey jury convicted him of the two murders today after deliberating for 41 hours and ten minutes over eight days.

Ezeoke slumped to his seat as the guilty verdicts were read.

Mrs Justice Cutts remanded the double killer in custody and will sentence him on October 1.

Prosecutor Mark Heywood said: ‘Ezeoke went there quite deliberately, with a gun and of course sufficient ammunition to use it, to attack and kill one of the young men of the family.

‘His hate was such that he did not falter when confronted by a second person and he simply took her life as well. Both lives taken were wholly innocent.’

Mr Kalikaka-Ekofo was visiting the flat in East Finchley at short notice for one night only so he was not one of those who could have been expected to be there.

‘It was two separate murders within a short space of time,’ said Mr Heywood.

‘No one could, or will, we understand, possibly suggest anything else.

‘These were execution killings, in effect.’

Mr Heywood added: ‘There had been a trend to modify ammunition to fit vintage weapons like the revolver and the overall likelihood is that that is what was done here.

Mr Kalikaka-Ekofo was only visiting his aunt's flat at short notice that night, the trial heard

Mr Kalikaka-Ekofo was only visiting his aunt’s flat at short notice that night, the trial heard

‘One of the typical guns you might see in a Western movie.’

Mrs Ekofo, who came to the UK with her husband from the Congo in 1991, lived with her family at the flat in Elmshurst Crescent in East Finchley.

Four other people were also in the house but were unharmed in the attack.

Mr Heywood told the court: ‘Just after dawn in the early Autumn of 2016, an assassin crept noiselessly into a second floor family home.

‘He had waited until that time in order to be able to get into the block.

‘By his great good fortune, the door of the home was not locked.

‘The layout of that flat, mirrored by others on the same estate, was probably known and clearly understood.

‘At first, not one of the six people sleeping inside it heard anything at all.

‘The killer moved forward to his left and then into a bedroom.

‘There, just in front of him, was a young man lying on a thin mattress on the floor under a duvet, his head nearer the door resting on pillows.

‘For the killer, this was as good a target as he could expect, a young man of this home, this house, of just the right age.

‘He crept forward, gun in hand.

‘His weapon was a deadly one, perfect for concealment in close quarters use, repeatedly if necessary. It was a revolver.

‘The killer raised the muzzle just enough and placed it at the back of the sleeping head.

‘And then, with a deliberation and purpose that was as cowardly as it was murderous, he simply pulled the trigger.

‘The silence of the home, the neighbourhood, was shattered and the life was immediately taken.’

Annie Efoko was killed as she investigated the sound of the gunshot that had killed her nephew, a trial at the Old Bailey heard

Annie Efoko was killed as she investigated the sound of the gunshot that had killed her nephew, a trial at the Old Bailey heard

At the sound of the ‘noise and so the hell he had just unleashed’ Mrs Ekofo came out from her bedroom down the hall to investigate.

‘The killer did not hesitate,’ said Mr Heywood.

‘Given his purpose and because he could not afford to be seen, and so caught, it suited him to use the weapon again.

‘Rather than simply raise it for example to threaten or ward off, or just simply turn and run out of the front door, he instead levelled the weapon a second time and he pulled the trigger, even as the nearly naked woman bent away from the lethal danger that must have been obvious.

‘His aim was central, towards the chest and the vital organs.

‘For the second time in one minute the killer took a life.

He then fled back to a black vehicle and returned to ‘safe ground’ on another estate, the court heard. 

Ezeoke, of no fixed address, denied but was convicted of two counts of murder on a majority of 11-1.

Sally-Anne Russell, from the CPS, said: ‘This was an execution of two family members within the space of about a minute. Obina Ezeoke’s actions have devastated a family.

‘Both victims were entirely innocent.

‘Nobody saw exactly how these events unfolded but the prosecution case included evidence of Ezeoke’s control of the car, CCTV footage of the car travelling to and from the scene, as well as a gun case discovered under Ezeoke’s bed, gunshot residue evidence and proof of the ongoing feud between Ezeoke and other members of the family involved.

‘Although Ezeoke denied any involvement in the killings, the jury accepted the prosecution case and convicted Ezeoke of both murders. 

‘I hope the family and friends of both Annie Besala Ekofo and Bervil Kalikala-Ekofo can be satisfied that justice has now been served.’

Ezeoke will return for sentence on October 1.