Abraham Badru was stalked by the fear that one day someone would come after him.
He had spent more than ten years looking over his shoulder, fearful that someone would hunt him down and kill him.
He’d felt like a marked man from the moment he had stepped in and saved a young girl from being gang raped in 2007 when he was just 14.
Again when he gave his statement to the police, identified the attackers in an ID parade, and once more when he gave evidence against them at their trial.
The chilling late-night texts which followed, calling him a ‘dead man’, were almost expected.
Yes, people hailed him a hero: the trial judge gave him a £500 reward for taking the stand, and doing the right thing. He was awarded a National Police Bravery Award and got a standing ovation from senior officers at the ceremony.
Abraham Badru (pictured) was murdered earlier this year in East London. The graduate had lived years in fear of being killed after rescuing a girl from gang rapists as a teen
Yet, all the time, the quiet, polite, churchgoer and university graduate instinctively felt that some day, somewhere, someone would try to kill him.
And on the night of March 25 this year, they succeeded.
Mr Badru, 26, had arrived at the address in Hackney, East London, he shared with his mother Ronke just after 11pm and stepped out of his car when he was gunned down by an unknown assailant.
A neighbour heard the gunshots and tried desperately to revive him, as did the police and ambulance crew who arrived soon afterwards.
While they fought to keep him alive, his mother, alerted by a neighbour, had to be restrained from racing to her stricken son.
Abraham died at the scene.
‘I ran to him but the police wouldn’t let me go to him,’ Ronke told the Mail in an emotional interview this week. ‘I was crying, screaming, for my son.
‘For ten years, Abraham was afraid that someone would try to kill him.
‘And now it has happened. I am empty. He was killed for being a hero. How can that possibly be right?’
Today, a large pile of bouquets and a photograph of a smiling Abraham Badru marks the spot where he died.
His murder comes in the midst of an unprecedented number of knife and gun killings in London.
At the time of his death, he was the tenth person to be murdered in the capital in just 12 days.
Among the rival gangs who are largely responsible for this epidemic of shootings, stabbings and general violence, killing has almost become normalised.
But Abraham’s only brush with gang culture was when he stood up to one — and saved a schoolgirl’s life.
Abraham’s motherRonke (pictured) was warned she would be charged with perverting the course of justice if she refused to give him permission to stand trial in the rape incident
The police later told his mother that without his help the 14-year-old victim would almost certainly have died in the attack on the Frampton Park estate that night in 2007.
Was his death foretold, as he believed?
One long-time community worker in Hackney says he is convinced it was. ‘This is the process, the protocol now — revenge,’ he told the Mail.
‘They have a code. Snitching is snitching. They are like a society within a society, with their own rules.’
Abraham’s mother certainly believes her son paid the ultimate price for his courage in saving that poor girl.
We met at Ronke’s house in Dalston, Hackney, where she lived with her son, and where he died just yards from her front door. Her sister and brother sat with her as she spoke, offering her their quiet support.
They are like a society within a society, with their own rules
The estate Ms Badru lives on is, by day, a pleasant, well-cared for place, but by night, it is somewhere else entirely. People stay indoors, waiting for the next incident to unfold, praying it doesn’t involve anyone they love.
Abraham spent his early years living with his mother, a 50-year-old support worker for people with mental health issues, on the Frampton Park estate.
She had separated from Abraham’s father, Dolapo Badru, a Nigerian politician, but the boy remained close to his father and visited him during the holidays
A studious, well-behaved boy, and talented sportsman, Abraham knew some members of the Kingzhold Boys, whose single objective in life was to cause trouble and who ruled the estate — but he was not one of them.
On the afternoon of April 30, 2007, Abraham took a call from a friend inviting him to a party in one of the high-rise flats. When he arrived, however, Abraham realised this was no innocent party. Instead, he stumbled upon an app