Killers of Darcy Austin-Bruce Jailed for Life

Fulham man gunned down outside Wandsworth Prison

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Two men from Fulham and Chelsea who were found guilty on Wednesday November 9 at the Old Bailey of the shooting of Fulham man Darcy Austin-Bruce have been jailed for life and will serve a minimum of 30 years.

The two men, Rupert Ross, 30, of Vera Road, Fulham and Leon De St Aubin, 34, a fireman, of Curran House, Lucan Place, Chelsea carried out the execution style killing outside Wandsworth prison after falling out with the victim over drugs.

Ross, an ex-Dulwich College pupil from a privileged background disguised himself as a lawyer before shooting the victim repeatedly at point blank range.

The murder occurred on Friday May 1, 2009 in the front car park outside HMP Wandsworth where 20 year-old Darcy, who lived in the Fulham Court estate off Fulham Road, was visiting.

The court heard how Darcy and two other friends were being escorted across the car park from the visitor's centre to the prison when Ross, wearing a smart suit and crash helmet produced a hand gun and shot him in the back.

Darcy turned around to face his killer, who shot him in the chest six times. As he collapsed to the ground Ross ran off to a nearby moped where De St Aubin, also dressed in a suit and crash helmet, had the engine revving before driving off at speed from Alma Terrace onto Trinity Road.

The murder was committed in front of a number of people visiting the prison, including women and children. Nurses and doctors from the prison rushed to Darcy's assistance but sadly were unable to save him as his injuries were too severe.

Rupert RossRoss, pictured left, and De St Aubin had previously been good friends of Darcy's until they fell out. However, police say it appears that the relationship had deteriorated to the point that the men were trying to kill each other. A few days before the murder Darcy and another youth had shot at a car being driven by De St Aubin.

A man known to Ross and St Aubin was serving time at HMP Wandsworth and used a contraband mobile phone to tell them he had heard Darcy was intending to visit.

 

Through phone records and intelligence, detectives from Trident found Ross was the gunman whose diary stated that he was  " living a gangster lifestyle, making good money and living a fast life".

Ross' wealthy family included a number of lawyers. His grandfather, retired Cambridge don and internationally renowned art restorer Herbert Lank, has reportedly disowned him.

The Old Bailey heard that Ross started offending aged just 16 while he was still a pupil at his exclusive public school, and had since been jailed for burglary, theft and ABH as a " depressing cycle of convictions which relate to drugs."

His mother, Diana Lank, 55, who runs fashion store Ad Hoc on Kings Road, lives in Fulham and was duped by her son into storing a bullet-proof vest in her home. When recovered by police, the vest proved to be a vital part of the case against Ross as it was covered in gunshot residue which matched the bullets used in the murder.

As he was led from the court, Ross shouted: " I love you Mum, stay strong".

Just over a month before the shooting, on March 27 2009, Ross and De St Aubin had signed up for a motorcycle training course, although in statements to police they failed to admit this fact.

Leon De St AubinRoss and De St Aubin, pictured right, stole the moped the day before the murder. The stolen moped and the gun have never been found but witness evidence confirmed that Ross was the shooter and De St Aubin his getaway driver.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Brian Lucas of Trident said: "These men were living violent and criminal lives to the extent that they believed that they could get away with killing a man in broad daylight as revenge for a petty argument.

"I believe that they had lost sight of reality and now face the consequences of their sad and violent choices.

"Darcy Austin-Bruce was killed in a frightening and organized way. Those innocent people that were witness to this were highly distressed and scarred by what they saw.

"My thoughts are with the family of Darcy at this time. I am glad that today these men have been found guilty and can no longer delude themselves of their 'gangster' status and realize a sad future is in front of them of a long prison life."

The jury were unable to reach a decision in relation to two other men, Casper Smith, 28 and Khori Hines, 34 who also stood trial for murder. The result was a hung jury.

There was a further twist to the story a month after the murder, when another man was shot dead following Darcy Austin-Bruce's funeral on June 4, 2009. The man, 28 year-old Anthony Otton was shot on a balcony on the Fulham Court estate, where a wake was taking place after the funeral.

At the time there was speculation that this was a revenge shooting, and it has since been reported that Anthony Otton was a close friend of Ross and De St Aubin. However, no one has yet been charged with the killing.

November 11, 2011

November 11, 2011