A TEENAGE athlete was hunted down and shot dead by members of a notorious street gang in the stairwell of a block of flats, the Old Bailey heard today.

Sylvester Akapalara, 17, was hit in the neck by a single bullet as he and two friends tried to escape from the group of armed youths.

Five youths, including David Nyamupfukudza, 18, of Nunstead Road, New Cross, are on trial for the killing which happened last December.

The three boys had been spotted by their attackers at the top of an eight-storey tower block in Peckham and had “loitered there rather longer than was sensible for their own good”, it was said.

A group of youths then entered Heron House on the Pelican Estate, claiming they were members of Brixton's Gas Gang looking for the rival GMG Gang from Peckham.

Prosecutor Duncan Penny said: “Within a few minutes and following an initial verbal exchange the three of them were being hunted down by a group of other youths, each of them was intent on violence.

“The second group came ready for the task in hand, one of them had a loaded handgun, a good number of other had knives.”

Sylvester and his friends made a desperate bid to escape, by running down a staircase.

But as Sylvester reached the fifth floor he was shot and he eventually collapsed on the floor below.

The other two boys were chased to the ground floor, where they were prevented from leaving by youths who were holding the door shut.

The gunman, said to be Nyamupfukudza, brandished the weapon again but as a fellow gang member demanded he shoot the pair, the gun jammed, jurors heard.

Nyamupfukudza denies murder, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of wounding with intent, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and having an offensive weapon.

The trial continues.