Gang leader who set deadly honeytrap for 16-year-old can be released from jail

Danny McLean, along with five others, killed Shakilus Townsend in a cul-de-sac in south London after he was lured there by girlfriend Samantha Joseph.

Gang member Danny McLean, who lay in wait with five others armed with knives and baseball bats to kill a 16-year-old boy.
Gang member Danny McLean, who lay in wait with five others armed with knives and baseball bats to kill a 16-year-old boy.

A jealous ex-boyfriend who led a masked and hooded gang to ambush and murder a 16-year-old boy in a honeytrap can be released from prison, the Parole Board has said.

Danny McLean, now 32, lay in wait with five others armed with baseball bats and knives to kill Shakilus Townsend in Thornton Heath, south London, in 2008.

The harrowing murder saw McLean’s ex-girlfriend Samantha Joseph, then 15, deliberately lead the lovestruck teenager into the deadly ambush, during which he was beaten and stabbed six times.

A neighbour chased the gang away and came to Shakilus’s aid as he lay dying.

Gang member Mclean was jailed for a minimum term of 15 years after an Old Bailey trial in 2009 and has been in open prison since February 2020.

Shakilus Townsend with Samantha Joseph, who lured him in to a fatal honeytrap.
Shakilus Townsend with Samantha Joseph, who lured him in to a fatal honeytrap (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The Parole Board said that since then he has found a job and has spent nights away from jail ‘without concern’.

The panel said: “The panel examined the release plan provided by Mr McLean’s probation officer and weighed its proposals against assessed risks.

“The plan included a requirement to reside in designated accommodation as well as strict limitations on Mr McLean’s contacts, movements and activities.

“The panel concluded this plan was robust enough to manage him in the community at this stage and noted his very positive record in relation to compliance since being in open conditions.”

Shakilus Townsend murder
Shakilus’s mother Nicola Dyer, speaking to the media at the end of the Old Bailey trial of his killers (Anthony Devlin/PA)

McLean’s release was approved on the conditions that he lives at an approved address, submits to enhanced monitoring by probation staff and abides by an exclusion zone to avoid contact with the victim’s family or former associates from the time of the murder.

During his time behind bars, McLean had an affair with a female prison officer Emma Beard at Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution.

She was jailed for a year for misconduct in public office.

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