A plumber accused of shooting a teenager in the back, outside his former primary school, has been found not guilty of murder.
Noor Omar, 23, of St John’s Hill, Battersea, spent two weeks on trial at the Old Bailey after he was accused of shooting 19-year-old Kyle McDonald, from Fulham, on the evening of September 18, 2013.
Scene of the shooting: Kambala Road at the back of Falconbrook Primary School, in Battersea
Mr Noor was arrested at gun point three weeks after the murder as he came out of the Falcon Road mosque on October 11, 2013.
He was charged with shooting Mr McDonald in the back, near Falconbrook Primary School, in Kambala Road, Battersea, on the basis of CCTV images showing his van pulling into the cul-de-sac and leaving soon after the murder.
The case was declared a "real whodunnit" by his lawyer, Icah Peart QC, who criticised the police and prosecution in court for their circumstantial evidence, speculation and having no forensic evidence linking Mr Omar to the crime.
Mr Peart heavily criticised them for not investigating alternatives, including tracing a dark van that appeared in the close seven minutes after the murder, an unidentified running man described by a witness as having ‘cold eyes’, an empty house on Musjid Close and the possibility of Mr McDonald being lured into a honey trap because he was on his was to meet a girl.
During his evidence Mr Omar said he had been to visiting friends during the day, had a series of calls with friends and family and parked up in the close to get off the road so he could exchange messages with a friend, Sasha Cocks, after which he drove away.
That evening he went for dessert at Afters in Tooting and later that night he travelled to the scene, where Mr McDonald collapsed, and asked a police officer what had gone on.
As he summed up his case, Mr Peart said: "It’s a difficult case isn’t it? The case is an entirely circumstantial one. This case is a real whodunnit. The Crown are left saying to you ‘It must have been Noor Omar because we can’t find anyone else to point the finger at'.
"He’s got absolutely no motive for killing Kyle McDonald. Although, given Kyle McDonald’s lifestyle, many others may have.
Flowers left at the scene where Mr McDonald died
"Why would [Mr Omar] do that in an area he is seen in on a daily basis? He went to the Falconbrook Primary School. He is well aware of the fact that there are CCTV cameras all over the place. It is inherently unlikely if, going to commit a murder, he would do so in his own highly identifiable van. He might as well be driving an ice cream van. It is not discreet - not like that other car that comes into the street seven minutes after the shooting.
"It is inherently unlikely he had anything to do with the killing when his van does pull away it does so at a pretty sedate speed. It’s not seen driving away quickly as you might have expected.
"He’s come back and gone back to the scene of the crime - would any sensible murderer do that?
"He’s a plumber and gas fitter - it is all he ever wanted to be and meant to be and is. The crown has not been able to advance on why this man, this gas fitter, would want to kill.
"They are asking you to take a really big leap of faith to say you are sure he committed this murder on the basis of evidence produced. It is speculation. It must have been him because he had the opportunity."
A: CCTV recorded the white van entering and leaving the cul de sac around the time of the murder
B: Kambala Road where Mr McDonald was shot
C: Coppock Close where Mr McDonald collapsed and died
The prosecution case rested on CCTV showing Mr Omar’s white plumbers van, which had a big black pipe on the roof, pulling into the cul-de-sac moments before the murder and leaving the scene shortly afterwards. They argued Mr Omar deliberately did this, had a gun in his van and intercepted Mr McDonald before fleeing the scene.