London - A British gang who glorified violence in rap videos were jailed for a total of 10 years on Monday over a knife attack plot – as a judge was asked to ban them from making "drill" music.
In a British legal first, Scotland Yard wants to stop five youngsters whose videos have been viewed 15 million times on YouTube from producing music that incites violence.
On Monday, members of the so-called 1011 gang were jailed for plotting a machete attack on a rival gang.
Rhys Herbert, 17, Micah Bedeau, 18, his younger brother Jordan, 17, Yonas Girma, 21, and Isaac Marshall, 18, were caught red-handed as they set out to attack their rivals armed with machetes and baseball bats last November.
The notorious Notting Hill gang claimed that the weapons were just props for a music video they were making, but admitted conspiracy to commit violent disorder halfway through their trial at Kingston Crown Court.
The Metropolitan Police on Monday asked a judge to order a landmark criminal behaviour order, preventing the five from making so-called drill music for up to five years, saying their music is "purely to glorify gangs and violence". It is the first time any force has applied for a blanket ban to prevent anyone making rap music videos.
Drill, a controversial brand of rap, has been linked to a large number of cases of violence and Commissioner Cressida Dick has linked the upsurge in knife and gun crime with online videos featuring gang members. Specialist Met officers spent two years looking at the gang’s music videos. Their sickeningly violent videos about shooting and stabbing rivals have earned them thousands of pounds in advertising revenue from YouTube. Spotify, the streaming service, paid the gang £12,000 for just one track.
Seven songs were played to the court in the landmark trial, showing masked youths jumping around wearing masks and pointing threateningly at the camera. One lyric said: "I tear him through his gut. I stab a man till his heartbeat stops. The hot gun got out and I pulled that trigger.’ In one song, called No Hook, there were sounds of gunshots with the lyrics saying: ‘Clock me an opp (opposing gang member), wind down the window, back (get) out the spinner (revolver firearm) and burst (shoot) him."
The gang were arrested on November 9 as they were stopped by police on their way to attack their rivals – the 12 World gang – in revenge for a YouTube video of the Bedeaus’ grandmother being threatened.
On Monday Judge Ann Mulligan sentenced Micah Bedeau to three years and three months. His brother Jordan received a ten-month sentence, along with Herbert. Girma was jailed for three-and-a-half years and Marshall received a two-year sentence.
The judge will decide on Friday whether they should be banned from making drill music. On Monday she branded the gang "menacingly violent", and singled out Westwood for criticism. She said: "Some of these music videos contain graphic violence. On October 20 last year, the defendants made an appearance on the Tim Westwood TV channel and were introduced as the 1011 gang.
"I have watched part of that video and it is fortunate, in my view, that video is no longer publicly available." Throughout the sentencing, the defendants laughed and joked in the dock as their lawyers suggested their videos were just for show.
Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Southworth, head of the Trident and Area Crime Command, said: "The lyrics, mainly written by Herbert, referenced several real and often violent events. Their aim was purely to glorify gangs and violence."