Gavin Grant – playing football while being investigated for murder

Gavin Grant was born 27 March 1984. This was just a couple of days after the 1984 Scottish League Cup Final, played on 25 March – an Old Firm derby contested by Rangers and Celtic. Rangers won the match 3–2 thanks to an Ally McCoist hat-trick. He scored a penalty in the first half, conceded a foul to give Celtic theirs in the last minute of normal time and then was himself fouled during extra time; although he had this second penalty saved, he scored the winning goal from the rebound.

A few days after Gavin was brought into the world, Marvin Gaye is shot to death by his father, a day before his 45th birthday. Gaye had an acrimonious relationship with his father, Marvin Gay Sr., since his childhood. Marvin Sr. was a Christian minister who was a strict disciplinarian and often physically punished his children. He was also a crossdresser, which was commonly known in the family’s Washington, D.C. neighborhood and made the younger Marvin a target of bullying. Days of family arguing, eventually Jnr gives his dad a kicking at the family home. Snr is pissed and walks into Jnr’s bedroom, and shoots him in the heart with a gun Jnt bought him! Marvin Sr. pleaded no contest to a voluntary manslaughter charge in 1984 with a six-year suspended sentence and five years probation.

1984 Scottish League Cup Final
Rangers’ 1984 Scottish League Cup Win
Marvin Gaye LA Times Article on Wrong Term Memory
The LA Times article on Gaye’s murder

Gavin Grant’s early footballing career

Back to Grant… he started his career at Watford on school boy terms but quickly gets let go. He starts working at Tesco and is pretty miserable. He signs for non-League Tooting & Mitcham (612 seater stadium 3500 capacity), before being signed by Gillingham. He later joined Millwall.

He was then loaned out to Grays Athletic at the end of the 2006–07 season, scoring four times in 10 appearances in all competitions. During this time, he was under investigation for a killing related to the murder of which he was subsequently convicted, and the loan deal was cut short due to Grant breaking his curfew and being arrested again.

Grant secured another loan deal, this time season-long to Grays on 24 August 2007, however it was cut short and he returned to the Lions in January 2008. He then joined Stevenage Borough on loan in February 2008.

Grant was released by Millwall at the end of the 2007–08 season, and was signed by new Wycombe Wanderers boss Peter Taylor on a two-year contract. He was signed again by Taylor, by that time at Bradford City, on a non-contract basis on 26 February 2010

Stonebridge – North-West London

Gavin was brought up in a rough as fuck area – Stonebridge, NW Ldn. It’s an industrial area, lots of drugs, gun crime, gangs etc. Damien Williams is 6 years older and he starts kicking about with Grant, who at this age is pretty impressionable. 

Grant, Gareth Downey and Damien Williams (we’ll call them the three) are up for murder. Williams is the ‘leader’ and it all starts when Romain White (William’s cousin) gets robbed – he has a motorcycle accident outside a rival gang member’s house.

This fella, Leon “Playboy” Labastide is a tiny wee guy. Playboy knows White’s house has drug money lying about and as he’s in hospital, decides to go mob-handed to rob his gaff. £20k was stolen. There were four women in the house: sisters, girlfriends etc. including a 16-year-old that pops back up in years to come. The girls and women are petrified and dive out of the 1st floor window – two out of the four break their legs in doing so.

Leon Playboy Labastide on Wrong Term Memory
Leon “Playboy” Labastide
Gareth Downie and Damien Williams on Wrong Term Memory
Gareth Downie and Damien Williams

A drug war starts

Damien Williams is pissed they have robbed his cousin. This event starts a full-scale drug war, with police saying there were 30 shootings related to the robbery.

Leon “Playboy” Labastide is spotted outside his mum’s house while on the phone and ends up being shot six times. After this murder, Gavin Grant is bragging about what had happened – basically, “don’t rob us or you will end up like Playboy… dead!”

The violence erupts and there are shooting for shootings exchanged between these warring drug gangs,

A new character, Shawn Fusey Sifinis, is accused of sending three typed letters to his rivals, threatening them with a proper seeing to… “you will not get away, your past will haunt you”. This angers some people and two gunmen (unknown) look for Shawn but shoot the wrong guy (Jemail Moore), who is just sitting in his car.

Millwall are standing by Grant during this time as he is “not in breach of contract”. He continues to play football. All the while the investigations are underway but the police do not tie Playboy to any of the shootings. Years go by and from 2004 – 2007, Grant appears to clean up his life and is playing football to a decent level.

Something clicks with the investigating team

The police eventually start to put it all together – the accident, the robbery etc. 

Then, it starts to get a bit odd… The 16 year old girl who had jumped out of a window speaks to the police and admits to hearing the three planning to murder Playboy. Police say the girl is happy to get it off her chest after keeping it to herself for so long. Some police are surprised by the level of cooperation from the girl – she’s from the community, and usually people will not suddenly start talking so openly to them.

Gavin was then arrested in 2008 with police speaking to Darren Matterin – a super grass basically. He’s the first witness to come out and “rat” on all the drug gangs. However, lots of his stories are complete and utter bullshit. Matterin throws doubt on the convictions that were handed out for the Jamal Moore shooting. The super grass says it was Grant, Downey and Williams,, so the fella in jail gets his retrial. The jury don’t believe Darren so re-convict the guy. It is unsurprising that none of Darren’s stories stick.

Gavin Grant mugshot
Gavin Grant’s mugshot

Eventually Grant, Downey and Williams are brought in front of a court – without Matterin’s statement – and are convicted of Jamal Moore’s murder. The defence try to paint Grant as a reformed character, and push for some leniency in his sentencing – because, “it was ages ago”! Adding the evidence against him, Grant had been pulled over by the police while driving the motorbike implicated in the murder and had given a false name – trying to distance himself from the killing, and also muddy the waters.

This, eventually, has no impact of his sentencing and Gavin Grant is given 25-years for murder, alongside Downey and Williams who are given the same length sentences for conspiracy.

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