Council pays tribute to ‘intuitive and compassionate’ children’s home worker shot in double murder

A man shot in a double murder at an outdoor lockdown party was an “intuitive and compassionate” children’s home worker, Manchester’s council leader has said.

Social care professional Abayomi Ajose, 36, was gunned down along with 21-year-old Cheriff Tall in the early hours of Sunday morning at an event which followed hours after a Black Lives Matter protest nearby in Moss Side, Manchester, passed off peacefully.

Leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese said: “Words alone cannot convey the tragedy at this loss of life.

“Abayomi Ajose (pictured) was an intuitive and compassionate social care professional who wanted to help both children and their families.

“He had worked at many of our residential children’s homes over the last five years, building up trust and relationships with children, many of whom have experienced trauma from an early age.

“Abayomi’s death is devastating and our thoughts and prayers are for his family and loved ones, friends, colleagues – and for all the children who knew him.

“Our hearts also go out to the family and community of Cheriff who will also be facing such unimaginable anguish.”

Mr Tall had visited the Houses of Parliament to lobby MPs about youth violence before his death.

In a tribute to him, his family said: “Cheriff loved his parents dearly, he was very close to his mother and it’s impossible to say that she will ever recover from this senseless loss. He was a model son, they doted on him and they are overcome with grief.”

Akemia Minott, a youth worker in Moss Side who knew Mr Tall, said: “He’s been to the Houses of Parliament with us, challenged MPs on what they’re going to do about youth violence and how they are going to address situations which is obviously incredibly sad when you look at what’s happened.”

Police and mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham have insisted the street party, with a DJ and PA system, on a car park in the middle of a block of flats in the inner-city district, was not a “rave” after days earlier promising to crack down on such gatherings during the lockdown.

The protest had been “sanctioned” by Manchester City Council and police but the later event was a “spontaneous gathering”, police said.

Residents complained about the noise and disturbance and police say they monitored the event but had no intelligence of any criminal activity and later decided it was “unachievable” to safely disperse.

Both men were shot around 1am on Sunday morning on Caythorpe Street in Moss Side.

Footage circulating on social media showed hundreds of people at the event.

On Wednesday, Inspector Simon Nasim of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said he could not give an update on the investigation but appealed again for witnesses to come forward.

He said: “We can’t solve this investigation on our own, we need the witnesses to step forward and give us that vital information.”

Anyone with information can call officers on 0161 856 9908, quoting incident number 221 of 21/06/2020, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Information can be uploaded through the dedicated Major Incident Public Portal

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