Why murder of 16-year-old boy in Sheffield suburb remains unsolved

A teenage boy brought to Sheffield for a better life was shot dead nearly 14 years ago but his killer remains free to walk the streets.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 11:11 am

Jonathan Matondo was 16 when his life was cut short on the Nottingham Cliff recreation ground in Burngreave, with detectives believing he was caught up in a ‘postcode gang’ war.

The teenager was brought to Sheffield when he was six to escape a civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But ironically, in what was regarded as one of the UK’s ‘safest cities’, Jonathan was shot in his head in an attack which sent shockwaves across Sheffield.

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Jonathan Matondo was shot dead in Sheffield at the age of 16
Jonathan Matondo was shot dead in Sheffield at the age of 16

Jonathan’s heartbroken mum, Therese Mfuilu, who put her trust in Sheffield when she relocated to the city, moved away following her beloved son’s death.

With the 14th anniversary of Jonathan’s murder approaching, nobody is yet behind bars.

One man stood trial for murder twice but jurors were unable to agree on a verdict the first time and he was found not guilty after a re-trial.

The murder is one of a number of unsolved cases on South Yorkshire Police’s books, with the force having a specialist review team which regularly re-examines historic killings to look for potential new leads.

Detectives always believed that Jonathan’s murderer did not act alone and was part of a pre-planned plot.

They discovered that Jonathan had become embroiled in the S3 gang, which operated in Burngreave and Pitsmoor at that time and was at war with the S4 gang.

He was known on the streets as ‘Venomous’ and had been known to carry a gun and a blade.

At the time of his death, Jonathan was serving a supervision order for robbery.

During the trials of the man originally accused of his murder, jurors heard that a few days before he was shot, Jonathan admitted to a friend that he had either stabbed or slashed somebody in The Vibe nightclub in Sheffield city centre.

Detectives believe the teen was targeted in retaliation for a shooting at a house belonging to relatives of an S4 member the night before.

There was a failed attempt on Jonathan's life a few hours before he was killed, when shots were fired at him while he visited a friend's flat.

But he was finally assassinated when he was shot in his head from a distance of around 60ft by a gun with a red laser device attached to pinpoint the target.

The same gun used to kill Jonathan had been used to fire at another S3 member's home two months earlier.

During the trials of the man accused of the murder, detectives revealed the S3 and S4 gangs had been responsible for a series gun attacks and stabbings.

In the two years before Jonathan’s murder, police compiled a dossier of 38 incidents.

At the time police chiefs said they believed a number of people were involved in the assassination and that officers would ‘relentlessly pursue’ them.

They said Jonathan was ‘targeted and ruthlessly killed’ in an ‘organised and planned attack’.

The man who stood trial over his murder was found to have firearm residue on his clothing when he was arrested two days after the killing, but he said he had come into contact with a lot of people and it could have come from anywhere.

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