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‘I remember the night of my brother’s death like it was yesterday’

Police have urged witnesses to come forward nearly 20 years on from the murder of a music producer in south London (Peter Byrne/PA)
Police have urged witnesses to come forward nearly 20 years on from the murder of a music producer in south London (Peter Byrne/PA)

Loved ones of a 21-year-old record producer who was fatally shot while driving his mother’s car are appealing for help to find his killer nearly 20 years on.

Rising star Leon Forbes was shot as he drove out of a car park near his home in Clapham, south London shortly after midnight on December 7, 2003.

His probation officer mother Michelle and sister Erica rushed out and desperately tried to save him, but despite their efforts and treatment by paramedics he died in hospital later that day.

Mr Forbes’s band Ghostt were finalists in the Mobo Unsung Awards for unsigned black artists and he had started his own record label, Ruff Diamond Records.

Leon Forbes was forging a career as a music producer when he was fatally shot.
Leon Forbes was forging a career as a music producer when he was fatally shot (Metropolitan Police/PA)

His mother, who died last year, believed he may have been shot by someone jealous of his success.

In a statement issued through police, his sister Erica said: “Although it was 19 years ago that Leon was taken from us, I remember it like yesterday.

“My memories are so vivid from that night – the smells, the sounds, the terror, the fear of that night when gunmen decided to come and take my brother’s life, leaving him to be found by his mother.

“The one thing I cannot get over is the constant memory of my mother and I, taking it in turns trying to give my brother CPR and willing him to breathe.

“On the 7 December 2003 our lives changed forever and I know it will never go back to how it was.

“My mother has now since passed and never got to fulfil her promise to Leon, to see those responsible brought to justice. This is often very painful and heartbreaking.

“I now have to fulfil that promise to her and Leon, I will continue to seek justice and one day face those responsible in court and ask them – why?”

Mr Forbes was driving his mother’s car out of the car park near their home in Daley Thompson Way with a friend when a gunman opened fire towards the back of the car, but hit the young father in the neck.

Witnesses saw a silver Saab and a red car speeding away after the shooting.

Five people were arrested in connection with Leon’s murder, in 2003 and 2004, but were all released with no further action.

Detective Chief Inspector Amanda Greig said: “Leon was only 21 years old when he was brutally murdered and he had his whole life ahead of him.

“His heartbroken mother Michelle, a former probation officer, was the vice president and co-founder of Mothers Against Guns and campaigned tirelessly for the Government to impose tougher sentences on gun crimes.

“She sadly died last year and will not see her son’s killer brought to justice, but you can still give Leon’s family the answers they have patiently waited for by doing the right thing and speaking to us.”

Anyone with information can call the Metropolitan Police Specialist Casework Team on 020 8785 8267 or 101, or to remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or online.