Bodybuilder’s drive-by assassin is jailed for at least 28 years after police found his rap lyrics boasting of his role in the murder
- Rajae Heslop, 22, and Irwin Constable, 20, murdered 38-year-old Leon Maxwell
- Shooters wrongly believed Mr Maxwell was member of Queensbury Boys gang
- Police found rap song which Heslop wrote depicting his involvement in murder
- Pair were jailed for life alongside Saharded Hassan, 28, who organised the hit
A bodybuilder’s drive-by assassin has been jailed for at least 28 years after police found his rap lyrics boasting of his role in the murder.
Rajae Heslop, 22, and Irwin Constable, 20, pulled up on a stolen moped and gunned down 38-year-old Leon Maxwell near Queensbury Tube station in northwest London.
Mr Maxwell, also known by the street names ‘Sykes’ and ‘2Swift’, was sitting in a car with a friend when the killers fired five shots through the front passenger window.
He was hit in the torso while his 29-year-old friend, who cannot be named, was also struck in the chest in the shooting shortly before 9pm on May 1, 2018.
The shooters mistakenly believed Mr Maxwell and his friend were members of the Queensbury Boys gang.
Heslop fled the country after the shooting and was arrested more than a year later when he returned to the UK thinking it was safe to do so. Police then found a rap song which he had written depicting his involvement in the murder.
Constable and Heslop were convicted of murder earlier this year alongside Saharded Hassan, 28, who organised the hit.
Leon Maxwell (pictured), 38, also known by the street names ‘Sykes’ and ‘2Swift’, was sitting in a car with a friend when the killers fired five shots through the front passenger window
Rajae Heslop (pictured left), 22, and Irwin Constable (right), 20, pulled up on a stolen moped and gunned down Mr Maxwell near Queensbury Tube station in northwest London
Judge Rebecca Poulet, QC, sentenced Hassan to life imprisonment and ordered he serve at least 32 years.
Heslop was jailed for life with a minimum of 28 years while Constable was sentenced to life and must serve at least 24 years as he was 17 at the time of the attack.
Judge Poulet described the murder as ‘wicked, mindless violence that appears to have been made out to the wrong target.’
Mr Maxwell was a bodybuilder and nutrition adviser, described by friends as a ‘naturally gifted musician’.
In 2003 he was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years, for murdering Irish traveller Patrick Fitzharris over a £75 cannabis deal.
Lyrics written by Hassan were found in a notebook he kept in his cell in Exeter Prison, glorifying the gang violence he helped organised: ‘Anything Queensbury soon get burned, my young boys get round there and burn him.’
Mr Maxwell’s family said in a statement read to the court: ‘Why? Why would someone decide to kill our boy that night?
‘Each day we live with a huge gap that is left. We pray justice will be served as justice is all we have left.’
The three killers were sentenced in March but the case can only now be reported following the conclusion of another trial linked to the same shooting.
Constable and Heslop had drunk and smoked cannabis before carrying out what the judge described as a ‘carefully planned attack’ under the orders of Hassan.
Saharded Hassan (above), 28, who organised the hit, was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve at least 32 years
Police later traced CCTV from the area and established the moped used was stolen the day before.
They were able to identify Constable and Heslop as the men who carried out the attack.
Alan Kent, prosecuting, said: ‘On 1 May 2018, at about 8.50pm two men were shot at close range with a handgun.
‘These two men were sitting together in a car, one in the driver’s seat, the other in the passenger seat at the front.
‘One of the bullets that was fired from the gun hit Leon Maxwell in the body. It passed through his lung and he died at the scene shortly after the infliction of that injury.
‘He had been sitting in the front passenger seat. The man sitting in the driver’s seat was also shot in the torso by a single bullet.
‘He got out of the car running and took a taxi to the nearest hospital, was treated and survived his wounds
‘He could not describe his attackers, the gunmen, save to say that they wore motorcycle crash helmets. I say they, because the evidence reveals two men physically carried out this shooting.
‘They arrived together on a stolen moped. It seems that the pillion passenger got off of the bike actually fired the gun and while he was doing that the driver turned the bike back round and when the gun had fired off they sped.
‘The evidence gathered by the police reveals that the two men on the moped at the time of the shooting and so actually carried it out are Irwin Constable and Rajae Heslop.
‘Saharded Hassan whilst not present at the scene, whilst not actually on the moped or actually pulling the trigger, we suggest was the person organising this.
Armed police at the scene near Queensbury Tube Station following the incident on May 1, 2018
‘DNA attributed to Mr Hassan was recovered from one of the bullet casings found at the scene.’
Hassan, of Harrow, Heslop, of Cricklewood and Constable, of Watford, all denied but were convicted of murder and attempted murder.
Earlier this week 20-year-old Kaleel Nyeila, Samuel Ageyman, Armani Ogilvie and Abdi Karama, all aged 19, were cleared of murder and attempted murder following a separate trial by a jury at the Old Bailey.
Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin said: ‘The investigation team has worked tirelessly since 2018 to get to the truth about what happened on Essoldo Way in order to not only bring those involved before the courts, but to get some form of resolution for Leon’s family.
‘This case highlights that even when suspects make every attempt to hide their identities, through hard work and forensic opportunities, we will always endeavour to find them.
‘Three men involved this murder have been given lengthy prison sentences, the professed gang leader Saharded Hassan received 32 years for his involvement.
‘I would encourage anyone with information regarding gun crime to contact police. Together, we can take these dangerous weapons off of our streets and make London safer for everyone.’
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