UK & World News
Shot Teens' Mothers Appeal Against Gangs
The mothers of two teenagers who were shot dead outside a New Year party have used the 10th anniversary of their daughters' deaths to urge young people not to get involved in gangs.
Charlene Ellis, 18, and her cousin, Letisha Shakespeare, 17, were killed by bullets fired from a car outside the Uniseven hair salon in Aston, Birmingham, in the early hours of January 2, 2003.
Charlene's twin sister, Sophie Ellis, and her cousin, Cheryl Shaw, were injured in the shooting.
The victims' mothers, Beverley Thomas and Marcia Shakespeare, called on young people to think about the devastating effect gangs can have on people's lives.
Mrs Thomas told the Birmingham Mail: "My message to youngsters is to think about the impact it has on families, the community and how it affects people closest to the victims.
"Burying your child is something you never expect to have to do as a parent. You expect your children to bury you."
Mrs Shakespeare added: "We have made young people realise, and will continue to make them realise, that there are choices, alternatives to violent crime.
"Young people need to know how being with the wrong people can affect them."
Mrs Thomas and Mrs Shakespeare have fought to help rid the city of gangs and weapons since their daughters' murders.
West Midlands Police said the two women were "inspirational" in their fight against gangs and gun crime.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Wallis said: "They are making young people realise there's a real choice of not having to become involved in gang culture.
"It can only lead to a small number of places - to a hospital, to a prison, or at worst, a funeral."
Four men were convicted of murder and attempted murder over the shooting of the four girls following a five-month trial at Leicester Crown Court.
Nathan Martin, 26, Marcus Ellis, 24, Michael Gregory, 23, and Rodrigo Simms, 20, were all jailed for life.
An appeal by all four men was turned down at Woolwich Crown Court in 2006 and they were refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords.
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