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Newham Council and Metropolitan Police protection for drive-by shooting victim CJ Davis to be examined by coroner

A coroner has agreed with the mother of teenager CJ Davis that protection given to him by Newham Council and the Metropolitan Police before he was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Newham in 2017 should be examined.

Posted on 22 December 2023

Keisha McLeod’s lawyers argued at a pre-inquest review hearing that apparent failings by the council and police to protect 14-year-old CJ from gang-related criminal exploitation arguably breached his right to life.

The Senior Coroner for East London then ruled that the inquest into CJ's death would be an Article 2 inquest. It means the role of state bodies in CJ's life will be investigated because there had been an arguable failure to protect CJ prior to his death.

Keisha McLeod's lawyers said in the months before CJ’s killing, evidence indicates that as a vulnerable child, he was criminally exploited, exposed to county lines drugs gangs, and placed at serious risk of harm and death. He was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in a playground in Moore Walk, Forest Gate, Newham 4 September 2017.

Barrister Jesse Nicholls, representing Ms McLeod on instruction from her solicitor Yvonne Kestler of law firm Leigh Day, called for an inquest that would examine the State's role in the circumstances of CJ's death, including to learn lessons and prevent future deaths.

The coroner ruled that the right to life was engaged; there had been an arguable failure to protect CJ prior to his death. The case will now proceed to a full inquest hearing to examine those arguable State failures. The inquest is expected to take place later next year.

Keisha McLeod said:

“We miss CJ more than words can say. He died before he had chance to find his path in life and we will never know the man he would have grown to be. We are grateful to the coroner for recognising that the role played in protecting CJ’s life by Newham Council and the Metropolitan Police should be examined at CJ’s inquest. We want the council and the police to see how we believe they could have done more to protect CJ and, if the coroner agrees with us, to be sure they change their practices to protect other children who face the same risks that CJ did.”

Leigh Day solicitor Yvonne Kestler said:

“A Serious Case Review identified a series of missed opportunities to intervene and take effective action to protect CJ. Although no one has faced criminal charges in relation to CJ’s death, his family believe he was failed by Newham Council and the Metropolitan Police whose role should be examined by the coroner and the family are grateful for the decision to resume this inquest.”


Yvonne Kestler
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Yvonne Kestler

Yvonne Kestler is a senior associate solicitor in the human rights department.

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