Streatham Guardian

Streatham Guardian

By Thais Portilho-Shrimpton 

The mother of a teenager killed at Streatham Ice Rink is launching a charity to teach kids how to get money, power and respect without resorting to crime.

James Andre Godrey Smartt-Ford, 17, known to his friends as Andre, or Dre, was gunned down on February 3, 2007, while with his girlfriend at a disco attended by more than 300 people.

A total of 17 people have been arrested as part of the investigation – including six on the night of the shooting – but no one has ever been charged.

Now his mother, Tracey Ford, is launching Jags, charitable foundation set up specially to target young and vulnerable young people who may be at risk of falling into a life of crime.

The official launch will take place on November 20, on what would have been Andre’s 21st birthday with a fundraising ball will take place at the Park Plaza Hotel, in Victoria.

She said: “Unlike many charities borne out of tragedy, the focus of Jags will centre on financial literacy and money management.

“We feel this will be a suitable legacy in memory of James, who had high ambitions for a great future. Through Jags we want young people – especially young black children – to realise that they can achieve financial freedom without resorting to guns, drugs or street crime.

“Often the propensity towards crime is born out of a need for respect, power and money. Jags’s will simply show how these needs can be met through a different path.”

Police believe there are witnesses and people in communities who have key information about the murder, but have been either scared, or had an “allegiance”, which meant they did not want to come forward.

Andre was gunned down at about 10.55pm in front of dozens of witnesses.

Her mother made an appeal on the third anniversary of his death and police offered a £20,000-reward for information, but no one came forward.

Streatham Labour MP, Chuka Umunna as also offered his support to the Jags Foundation and is set to be at the launch.

The foundation will dovetail with Losing Our Sons Tragically (Lost) – the charity she set up immediately after James’s death.

Tickets are £79 per person and the money will go to the charity.

For information visit jagsfundraising.eventbrite.com or call 07879 004525.