Nashon Esbrand: jury finds “clear and direct causal connection” between police failings and murder

Nashon Esbrand was a North London actor, and carer for his mother, who was 27 years old when he was murdered by four associates of a gang on 24 August 2017. He had just left his nine day old daughter and his partner when his assailants spotted him, chased him along the Essex Road, and fatally stabbed him. Despite treatment from members of the public, police, the London Ambulance Service, and Royal London Hospital, he died the next morning. The jury concluded that the stabbing had caused “a catastrophic amount of blood loss within seconds”.

Four individuals had previously been convicted of Nashon’s murder, at two trials at Old Bailey, in 2018 and 2019. The inquest into his death resumed after the conclusion of the criminal proceedings. Senior Coroner Mary Hassell, and the jury, heard evidence in relation to police engagement with Nashon, his desire to move from the North London area where he lived, and the emergency response on the day of the attack.

The jury heard evidence that Nashon had made multiple reports to police of attacks over a period of about two years. These included incidents where Nashon had been threatened by individuals carrying weapons such as knives, and what he believed to be firearms. Ultimately, the jury heard, Nashon was said to have lost faith in the police.

The jury concluded that Nashon’s death was an “unlawful killing” – a conclusion which the Coroner directed them to arrive at in light of the evidence before them. However, the Coroner also directed the jury to include a narrative, after consideration of any other acts or omissions that materially caused or contributed to Nashon’s death.

The jury’s narrative concluded:

We the jury find the below failings had a clear and direct causal connection to Nashon’s death: 

1. Inadequate investigation into the individual cases reported by Nashon, which led to: 

(a) inadequate safeguarding measures; 

(b) inadequate deterrence of suspects; 

(c) no escalation to other specialist teams, including the Gangs Unit and Safeguarding Unit; 

2. Due to the inadequacies noted above, there was insufficient information to assess the overall risk to Nashon. No effort was made to investigate the connections between cases or form an accurate picture of the position Nashon was in.

Princess Barton, Nashon’s mother, said: 

Nashon’s killers didn’t just take my son’s life, they took my whole family’s life. Now, at last, the jury have given us justice. Nashon reported many incidents to the police but they didn’t do enough to investigate them – or to protect Nashon. My family is grateful to the jury for seeing the truth.

Felix Couchman of TV Edwards solicitors said: 

“Because of the criminal cases, and the pandemic, Nashon’s family have had to wait years to have a jury to consider how Nashon was failed during his lifetime. Their careful attention to complex evidence has made clear what the family have always known: better protection of Nashon could have prevented his death”.

The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Felix Couchman of TV Edwards Solicitors and Cian Murphy of Doughty Street Chambers.

In addition to Nashon’s family, other interested persons represented at the inquest were the Metropolitan Police Service, the London Ambulance Service, the London Borough of Islington, and Clarion Housing Association.