Double murderer received £600,000 of taxpayers' money in legal aid

Double murderer who gunned down mother-of-nine, 53, and her 21-year-old nephew received more than £600,000 of taxpayers’ money in legal aid across five trials

  • Obina Ezeoke executed Annie Efoko and Bervil Kalikaka-Efoko in North London
  • It took an unprecedented five trials before Ezeoke was jailed for double murder
  • Now the full extent of the bill for Ezeoke’s legal aid costs has been revealed

A double murderer who gunned down a mother-of-nine and her nephew received more than £600,000 of taxpayers’ money in legal aid across five trials, it has emerged. 

Revolver-wielding Obina Ezeoke snuck into a family home and executed Bervil Kalikaka-Efoko, 21 and his aunt Annie Efoko, 53, four years ago in north London.

He blasted Bervil in the head at point blank range as he slept before shooting his aunt in the chest, killing two innocent people in a botched revenge attempt.

It took an unprecedented five trials before Ezeoke was jailed for double murder last month, having run up a staggering £603,587 legal aid bill.

Student Bervil Kalikaka-Ekofo, 21, (left) was shot in the back of the head by the assassin, prompting his aunt Annie Besala Ekofo, 53, (right) to investigate. She was shot in the chest

Obina Ezeoke, 28, was convicted of the double murder at his fifth trial last month, following the brutal shooting in North London in 2016

The murderous drug dealer’s first trial in 2017 collapsed when a judge suffering from excruciating back pain was forced to withdraw.

Two further juries failed to return a verdict and a fourth trial was aborted because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ezeoke was finally found guilty at the Old Bailey on the fifth attempt in September, and he has since been jailed for at least 40 years.

A Freedom of Information request can now reveal the two trials where juries failed to reach a verdict cost taxpayers £323,626.41 in legal aid for Ezeoke.

The two halted trials cost £187,599.98 in legal aid and Ezeoke also received £92,362.64 in support for the latest case where he was found guilty.

However, the Ministry of Defence’s Legal Aid Agency, which dishes out the funding, says the cost of the most recent trial may not yet have been fully counted.

A Legal Aid Agency spokesman said: ‘Anyone facing a Crown Court trial is eligible for legal aid, subject to a strict means test.

‘Depending on their means, applicants for criminal legal aid can be required to pay contributions up to the entire cost of the defence.

‘Defendants do not receive a penny of legal aid payments are means-tested and sent directly to solicitors and barristers who represent them to ensure a fair trial.

‘Without legal representation criminals could argue their trial was unfair and convictions could be quashed.’

 Annie Ekofo, pictured, was gunned down by Ezeoke as she rushed to her nephew’s aid

Mr Kalikaka-Ekofo was only visiting his aunt’s flat at short notice that night, the trial heard

Ezeoke gained entrance to Ms Efoko’s block of flats in East Finchley and crept through her open door, before shooting her nephew – who was only staying for the night.

He then gunned down Ms Efoko as she came to her nephew’s aid.

The court heard Ezeoke was seeking revenge after footage of him was circulated by rivals – allegedly including Ms Efoko’s son Ryan Efey, 22 – on Snapchat.

Ezeoke was stabbed multiple times in October 2015, and the shooting is believed to have been in retaliation for that incident, the Old Bailey heard.

Sally-Anne Russell, from the CPS, said: ‘This was an execution of two family members within the space of about a minute. Obina Ezeoke’s actions have devastated a family.

‘He went to the flat to carry out a revenge attack because of an ongoing feud between himself and another in the household. When he couldn’t find the person he was looking for, he murdered a young man and a mother-of-nine instead. Both victims were entirely innocent.’

Det Ch Insp Garry Moncrieff, who led the investigation, added: ‘Annie and Bervil were brutally gunned down in what should have been the safety of their family home.

‘It appears that they were totally innocent victims, killed as a result of escalating violence between rival groups, and the latest in a series of violent clashes dating back several years.

‘We will not tolerate the use of firearms on the streets of London, and those who carry guns should know that we will relentlessly pursue anyone involved in gun crime and bring them before the courts where they will face significant prison sentences.’

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