Man hailed for stopping rape feared retribution before he was shot, inquest told

Abraham Badru was gunned down outside his home in 2018.

21 February 2022

A personal trainer shot dead outside his house in a late-night ambush had spent the previous decade living in fear of retribution after testifying against a rape gang, an inquest heard.

Abraham Badru received threatening messages telling him he was “dead meat”, forcing him to stay indoors, cover his face, and go by another name after coming to the rescue of a sex assault victim in 2007 when he was just 14.

He was so frightened of the rapists, who he knew growing up in east London, that he left the capital entirely aged 16, and only returned years later for work reasons after completing a Masters degree.

Mr Badru was shot dead outside his home in Hackney on Sunday March 25 2018, 24 hours after a mystery woman showed up at the address, much to Mr Badru’s apparent surprise.

His murder remains unsolved.

Abraham Badru death
Abraham Badru was gunned down after pulling up near his home in Hackney, east London, on March 25 2018 (Family handout/PA)

Ronke Ali Badru, Mr Badru’s mother, told St Pancras Coroner’s Court on Monday: “The day before (he was shot), I heard him say to a woman: ‘How did you know where I live?’

“They both went into the kitchen, I did not recognise the girl.”

The following day, Mrs Badru said she saw “two men, looking suspicious” outside her home.

She was awoken later that night to be told that her son had been shot.

Mrs Badru said the threatening messages began days after the rape suspects were arrested.

Abraham Badru death
Ronke Badru, the mother of Abraham Badru who was shot dead. His murder remains unsolved (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

She said: “Abraham was receiving messages saying: ‘You’re dead meat’, ‘you’re a snitch’.

“He was so scared, he stopped going out.”

He also had his car vandalised, she said.

Mrs Badru said she begged police not to make her son testify against the rape suspects, but was told she would be charged with perverting the course of justice if she intervened.

The inquest heard 26-year-old Mr Badru was on the phone to a woman when he was fatally shot as he unloaded items from the boot of his car, shortly after 11pm.

Detective Sergeant Matthew Bennet told the hearing: “She (the woman) described hearing a number of loud bangs, then hearing the sound of screeching tyres.

Abraham Badru death
Tributes on Ferncliff Road in Hackney, where Abraham Badru was shot dead (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“She was completely unaware of what had taken place.”

Mrs Badru wiped tears from her eyes as coroner Mary Hassell read witness statements that confirmed her son was pronounced dead at the scene, with gunshot wounds to the chest and thigh.

She described her son as “a very gentle boy”, who had “never been in a fight”.

Indeed he was given a bravery award by the court for stopping the rape, and then helping bring the attackers to justice.

Police said the gang rape suspects all had alibis for the night Mr Badru was killed, while other lines of investigation – including investigating the women he was speaking to in the months before he died – drew a blank.

Mr Bennett said: “We still haven’t, to this day, identified any links to the murder or any motive.

“We couldn’t find anyone who had a particular grudge or vendetta against him.

“It has just been a wall of silence in relation to the murder investigation.”

The inquest was adjourned until May.

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