Lawyer's bid to reopen case of Northampton girl and friend murdered in drive-by shooting

Letisha Shakespeare, 17, was murdered in a gangland shooting in Birmingham in 2003.
Letisha Shakespeare, 17, was murdered in a gangland shooting in Birmingham in 2003.

The case of two men jailed for murdering a Northampton teenager in a drive-by shooting is due back in court.

Letisha Shakespeare, 17, from Northampton, and friend Charlene Ellis, 18, were shot dead in Birmingham in January 2003.

Marcus Ellis and Rodrigo Simms, along with two other men, were sentenced to life in prison for the gangland shooting.

But the BBC has reported that last week, a lawyer representing the two killers has applied to have the anonymity of a key witness in the case lifted amid "new evidence".

During the trial, the jury heard the testimony heard the testimony of a man whose identity was concealed and was only known to the judge and the prosecutor.

Ellis and Simms' lawyer, Errol Robinson, has now applied to reveal the witness' true identity because the defence was unable to test his account in the original trial.

Mr Robinson told Birmingham Crown Court on September 14: "Because no one knew [the witness's] true identity, no one could test the veracity of what he was alleging."

The girls were killed in a hail of bullets in the early hours of January 2, 2003, while at a New Year's Party at a Birmingham hair salon.

The shooting was a revenge attack of a rival gang by the four defendants, who were all members of the Burger Bar Boys gang.

Marcus Ellis, Michael Gregory, Nathan Martin and Rodrigo Simms were jailed for life by a judge at Leicester Crown Court.

In sentencing, Mr Justice Goldring told Ellis, Gregory and Martin: "Those who were killed were wholly innocent people. Not a shred of remorse has been exhibited, moreover, and public interest demands the highest possible deterrent.

"No society can permit this sort of behaviour to take place without the gravest retribution."