Imani shooting: Mother wants justice for ‘gentle giant’ son
Parents tell of their pain after ‘vulnerable’ 22-year-old was shot dead on Holloway estate
17 July, 2020 — By Calum Fraser
Imani Allaway-Muir’s sister touches an image of her big brother at a shrine for the 22-year-old
THE family of a young man who died in a shooting have paid tribute to their “gentle giant” and spoken of the “massive void” that his death has left in their home.
Imani Allaway-Muir, who was 22, died earlier this month after being shot in the Westbourne Estate, Holloway.
Speaking about the incident for the first time, Keetha Allaway, Imani’s mother, told the Tribune how losing her first-born son had “torn her to pieces”. She said: “The pain is indescribable. I haven’t eaten, I haven’t slept. I am hyperventilating one minute, crying the next, and I want to scream the next minute.
“The whole community knows that an innocent life has been taken. It is so nice to see everyone coming out for Imani, but it is also devastating because it is so unfair that this has happened. As soon as I go outside the front door it is just too much because everywhere I go it reminds me of him.”
Mr Allaway-Muir was killed earlier this month
Jason Muir, Imani’s father, added: “Imani’s gran, my mum, passed away of Covid-19 on April 1. Imani went to see her every Sunday.
And now this has happened, it’s devastating. I can’t think straight. The pain is unbearable. I can be anywhere, then I’ll start crying. When it comes out it won’t stop and it will never stop. It’s too much.”
Imani, who has three sisters and two brothers, was born and brought up around the Westbourne Estate area. He attended St Mary Magdalene Academy in Liverpool Road for both primary and secondary school.
Ms Allaway said: “Imani had Asperger’s and autism. He was a vulnerable boy.
“His brain was just so innocent. He was 6ft 2 and very handsome, but he was just a gentle giant.
“He did voluntary work with my mum twice a week, helping children with special needs. He loved children and he was so attentive.
“He wanted to get into some kind of mentoring for children with challenging behaviour like himself. That was his plan.”
Flowers left on the Westbourne Estate
A huge shrine of flowers, candles, personal messages and an Arsenal FC jersey with the words “Black Lives Matter” on it have been left at the spot where he was killed.
Ms Allaway said: “We want justice, but then it’s never going to bring Imani back. On so many levels this is so wrong. It’s surreal. Every day you think he’s just going to walk back in through the door.
“He literally held us together. It’s like there is a massive, massive void which we are trying to get our head round. I just want my son back.”
Hundreds gathered in Paradise Park, one of Imani’s favourite places, on Monday night for a vigil which included a minute’s silence and prayers.
“I called him my big star,” said Mr Muir, who works in the care industry.
“There’s a bench in the park dedicated to one of Imani’s friends next to the football cage. He would always be there with his friends chatting and watching football. It was his favourite place.”
Yesterday (Thursday), Demetrios Kyriacou, 33, and Hamza Hassan, 27, appeared at Highbury Magistrates Court charged with murder.
This followed Matthew Hardy, 34, and Nathaniel Reece, 39, being charged with murder last week.
Mr Reece also faces one count of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
A fundraising page has been set up to help the family pay for Imani’s funeral costs.
To donate go to: www.gofundme.com/f/imani-taken-too-soon