Two guilty of Battersea flat explosion murder
Two men have been found guilty of murdering a drug dealer then blowing up his flat to cover up the killing.
The body of Leroy Burnett, 47, was found in the remains of his flat in Crichton Street, Battersea, by firefighters after the blaze in November 2010.
This afternoon, a jury at the Old Bailey found Colliston Edwards, 37, and Andre Johnson, 23, both of no fixed address, guilty of joint enterprise murder for shooting Mr Burnett in the head at point-blank range in his home.
The pair then recruited Max Walter, 21, also of no fixed address, to blow up the flat to cover up the murder. He was found guilty of arson, with intent to endanger life.
Edwards was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice after he denied recruiting Walter to blow up the house.
There was a mixture of whoops and cries of grief from the public gallery as the jury read out a majority verdict on all counts. Johnson shook his head as he was led down to the cells.
During the trial, the court heard Mr Burnett was a drug addict and worked as a low-level supplier for Edwards and Johnson, whose street names were Tallman and Lousy.
Mr Burnett was expected to carry out sales and look after mobile phones for Lousy when he commuted between Doncaster and south London to sell heroin.
But an argument arose when Mr Burnett smoked some of the drugs he was supposed to be selling and miscounted money he owed.
During the trial, Johnson said he was asked by Edwards to blow up the flat, but paid Walter £280 and a packet of cigarettes for Walter to do it instead because he was too scared.
Witnesses living in the same block of flats told the court they were forced to flee their own homes as bricks and rubble came crashing down around them.
It took jurors three days to return a verdict on the case at the end of a six-week trial.
All three men will be sentenced at the Old Bailey tomorrow, April 4.
Johnson will be sentenced for murder, arson and perverting the course of justice after pleading guilty to the latter two charges.
Edwards will be sentenced for murder, arson and perverting the course of justice.
Walter will be sentenced at the same time. He had pleaded guilty to arson but had denied intending to harm others.