Three young gang members have been jailed for a total of 58 years for shooting dead a 21-year-old in a "hail of bullets" in New Cross four years ago.

Nathan Allen, of Desmond Street, was chased by masked men on bikes before being gunned down in Ludwick Mews on May 3 in 2010.

The victim had no criminal record but had friends in the Shower gang and was murdered my members of the rival Anti-Shower gang in a trivial row over a motorbike.

His mother Loretta Young says her "polite, kind" son's downfall was staying in contact with these friends and spoke of how she now has cushions with his face on because she is "desperate to hug him".

At the Old Bailey today, three defendants were sentenced for his murder and for possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence in a separate incident minutes before the killing.

Judge Rebecca Poulet said: "I am in no doubt the background to this shooting was the ongoing gang culture, the tit-for-tat violence that existed at that time in the borough of Lewisham."

She went on to say the case was a "depressing" example of reluctance to attend court and give evidence in gang-related crimes.

She told Curtis Quashie, 22, of Clement House, Pepys Estate, Deptford, he "led" the attack when he was then aged 18.

Ms Poulet said: "In my judgement, you led this attack.

"You were almost certainly the gunman at the time of the shooting."

She sentenced Quashie to a minimum of 24 years in prison and five years for the second count to run concurrently.

Jamel Green, 20, of St Asaph Road, Brockley, was just 16 at the time of the attack and had lived in several care homes and was excluded from Deptford Green School in Year 7.

Judge Poulet, who took into account his age at the time of the offence, told him: "You had already accumulated a bad criminal record.

"In my judgement, you were only too willing to fill in with Curtis Quashie who you obviously liked and admired."

He was sentenced to a minimum of 17 years detention in a young offenders' institute for murder and four years for possession of a firearm, to run concurrently.

Third defendant Bosun Sode, 21, of Joseph Hardcastle Close, New Cross, was just 17 at the time.

He had dreams of becoming a commercial lawyer and had gained an upper second class degree in law since the attack.

Judge Poulet told him: "It is undoubtedly to your credit that you have studied and achieved an upper second law degree.

"Unfortunately, at this point in your life you were caught up in an invidious and pervasive gang culture.

"You were showing much promise, but you willingly took part in violence with the intent to kill."

She went on to say she might be sentencing a "different man" to the one who committed the crime and members of his family wept as she gave her sentence.

Sode was sentenced to a minimum of  17 years detention in a young offenders' institute for murder and three years for possession of a firearm to run concurrently.

The trio were found guilty earlier this month.

In a victim impact statement, Nathan's mother Ms Young said: "Nathan was never convicted of any crime. His downfall was to continue to hang out with members of Shower.

"All the tributes, cards, letters were such a comfort.

“They said Nathan was not like that, he was polite, kind and helpful to the young and old.

"I try so many ways to get through my grief. My living room is like a shrine to him.

“His bedroom is now my room. I have cushions with his face on which I hold close to me, I am so desperate for a hug from him."

The former nurse added: "I am going to miss his cheeky smile, his deep voice, I am going to miss him teasing me,

"Those that murdered you, if they get sent to prison, their parents can still touch them, visit them.

“All I have is your grave to visit for the rest of my life."