Pc William Danso 'was casually murdered by gunmen who ran off laughing' An unarmed police officer was murdered by three "assassins", who ran off laughing, after he encountered them leaving a house where they had just murdered a nightclub doorman, a court heard yesterday.
In the first trial arising from the murder of Pc Patrick Dunne, a Metropolitan Police officer, in 1993, the jury was told that the bouncer was assassinated by three men, two of them with guns.
Richard Horwell, for the Crown, said William Danso, a 31-year-old father-of-four from Ghana, was "murdered out of wickedness and madness. He had not shown them sufficient respect and that cost him his life".
Pc Dunne, 44, had cycled to a house opposite Mr Danso's, in Cato Road, Clapham, south London, to deal with a minor domestic incident.
"Pc Dunne heard the gunshots that had been fired at Mr Danso and he went to investigate," said Mr Horwell. The officer reported "some shots fired" into his radio. As he stepped outside, he was confronted by the men emerging from the opposite house.
One of the men looked across and pointed the gun. Pc Dunne shouted "Get in," to the people he had been talking to, but the man opened fire, hitting him in the chest.
Mr Horwell said: "There can be no doubt that the gunman must have identified Pc Dunne as a police officer. He was wearing his uniform and reflective yellow top and the intruder raised his hand in which he held a firearm.
"It was such a casual act, to which the gunmen responded by laughing as they made good their escape. To some, life is insignificant indeed."
Gary Nelson, 36 now and 24 at the time, is standing trial at Woolwich Crown Court, south-east London. Nelson, who was said to have had a "very short fuse indeed" and has convictions for violence, denies murdering the two men on Oct 20, 1993.
He was said to have been the gunman who used an Italian Tanfoglio pistol on Mr Danso and the officer. It was alleged that a fellow attacker used a Browning. A total of 17 rounds were fired.
Nelson, whose street name was Tyson because of his resemblance to the boxer, was arrested five weeks later and charged with conspiracy to murder. The charge was dropped because of insufficient evidence. But in October 2004 he was charged again, with the two murders.
Mr Danso was a bouncer at the Academy club in Brixton, south London, and had refused entry to Nelson. He told a colleague that Nelson had threatened to repay him for this "insolence".
Mr Danso also acted as a security guard at a mobile telephone shop in Streatham, south London, and, on the day of the murders, he had intervened in a dispute between Nelson and a friend, and another group of men. Nelson's friend later called the owner of the shop trying to find out Mr Danso's address.
A witness spotted an unusual registration on a BMW car speeding away from Cato Road with three men in it. Mr Horwell suggested that the registration she recalled was almost identical to that of a black BMW, A9 MOB, driven by Nelson when he was first arrested in November 1993.
The man who ran the phone shop said Nelson had shown him a Tanfoglio handgun and, after the murders, had warned him not to help police.
After his arrest in November 1993, Nelson told one officer: "You'll cop it like the other one copped it." He allegedly said to another: "I'll take one of you out again."
Months after the murders, police searched Wandsworth cemetery and found the guns inside a metal container.
One of the bags they were in had originally contained an "amenity kit" handed out by Virgin Atlantic on its jets. Nelson's mother, Shirley Wright, had flown on the airline to Miami with a relative. Her fingerprint was on the bag.
The Crown introduced "relevant bad character" evidence about Nelson. The jury heard that he had four convictions for violence between 1985 and 1990. In February 2003 officers searched a flat where Nelson had been living and recovered a loaded handgun and a stun gun.
The trial continues.