January 1st 2016 UPDATE
In July 2015, the Deslandes family launched the Darren Deslandes Peacemaker Foundation in honor of their son and brother Darren who was murdered on January 1st, 2010.
The main aim is to assist families of the departed victims of major crime and also create training programs to enrich the development of youths in the community.’
The two aims areCURE: The core purpose of the cure will be to assist and support the families of victims of major crimes; PREVENTION: The focus will be on trying to prevent young people from engaging in serious violent crime and will be achieved by using various techniques through our ‘Enrichment Summer Camp.
Please do consider supporting the DDL Foundation either in volunteering your time or donations. Thank you on behalf of the Deslandes family and friends.
PRESS RELEASE JANUARY 7TH, 2010
The Deslandes family is issuing this press release in order to set the record straight regarding their family and the events surrounding the cowardly shooting which left 34yr old Darren Deslandes dead and his 25yr old brother, Wintworth [Junior] Deslandes, remains in the Critical Care Unit.
This is a well educated, hardworking, upstanding and loving family who have provided a foster home for nine children. Darren Deslandes was a Leasehold Housing Officer for SLFHA (formerly known as a South London Family Housing Association) for whom he was employed for ten years. Junior Deslandes worked in the family pub, the Newton Arms. Darren attended Dulwich College for his GCSEs, Richmond Upon Thames College for A-levels, and to Brunnel University. Junior attended Trinity School Croydon and works as an Estate Agent as well as at the family pub. Neither Darren nor Junior have ever been arrested, nor have either of them ever had a shred of involvement with any violent or criminal behavior.
Darren and Junior Deslandes are the children of Wintworth, Sr. and Lurline Deslandes. Wintworth, Sr. worked in the City for 25 years as an insurance underwriter. In 1999 Mr. and Mrs. Deslandes bought and became pub landlords of the Newton Arms in Queen’s Road, Thornton Heath. They turned the then-struggling Newton Arms into a popular and well-loved community pub renowned for its family atmosphere. A friendly place that was a home away from home for regular patrons who were of all ages and races. “Was” because now that has all been destroyed by a callous act of senseless violence by what can only be described as a devout coward.
The Deslandes family hosted a private party to celebrate New Year’s Eve this year with extended family, friends and pub regulars, all of who were welcome to bring guests. Unfortunately, one regular patron brought his nephew with him, the man who later murdered Darren in cold blood and has left Junior fighting for his life.
The night had proceeded with festive cheer until around 4am on New Year’s Day. The Murderer was arguing with another guest who was attending the party when Junior attempted to calm the situation. The Murderer picked up a bottle to hit Junior so Darren and Junior forcibly removed him from the pub, at which point he ran to a vehicle and drove off quickly. Not liking the manner in which the Murderer ran off, Wintworth, Sr. immediately announced that the pub was closed and everyone should promptly exit the establishment in case the angry young man returned.
Before all the guests had left, and while the Deslandes family were still locking and cleaning up, the Murderer returned asking where his uncle was. Darren and Junior, with their family standing behind them, repeatedly informed him that his uncle had left and that he should go home. The Murderer then pulled out a gun. Darren and Junior attempted to grab his arms to prevent him from firing the gun on their family and pushed the Murderer to the front door where the Murderer managed to turn the gun on them and shot Darren in the head and the shoulder and Junior in the head, neck and shoulder. The Murderer fled towards the back of the pub when Wintworth, Sr. attempted to stop him with a broken bottle. The Murderer pointed the gun directly at Wintworth, Sr. and pulled the trigger but there were no more bullets, so he struck Wintworth, Sr. with the gun butt and fled out the back.
At this point, Darren had stopped breathing and Wintworth, Sr. successfully resuscitated him before rushing over to attend to Junior, who was barely breathing. Then Darren started choking on his own blood and Wintworth Sr. was unable to resuscitate him again.
Darren’s fiancÃ©s, Abigail, had called the police immediately after the Murder brandished his gun. When they arrived, they prevented the paramedics from entering the pub for 30 minutes, claiming that they wanted to make sure the premises were secure despite everyone in the pub telling the police that the Murderer had fled out of the back of the pub. Darren, already deceased, was taken off by the ambulance first. Junior was not taken off by the ambulance until a full hour after he was shot. Neither of the men’s parents were allowed to accompany their sons in the ambulance.
The family is disgusted at the spiteful, heartless behaviour of the police when they arrived. They treated the whole family like they were criminals and stood by emotionless as Junior slipped into a coma. In addition to contributing to the worsening of Junior’s condition, they have caused the Deslandes family unnecessary additional heartache by feeding the rabid, racist elements in the tabloid press with their treatment of the victims of this tragedy.
The Sun ran a disgraceful article packed with lies, describing the crime as a “wild west shoot out.” The Deslandes family formally demand a full apology from the Sun and a full retraction of the cruel lies they have spread about the Murder of one innocent, law abiding young man and the attempted murder of another . Wintworth and Leline have a third son, James, age 13. He witnessed the Murder of his eldest brother. His other brother is fighting for his life and his parents are irreconcilably devastated.
At this time, the Cowardly Murderer has not been caught. The conduct of the police so far has been immeasurably disrespectful and offensive to the victims of this terrible crime. They even went as far as using deceit to isolate 13 yr old James in order to inform him his eldest brother was dead and to question him about the shooting without his parents present. The family can only feel pity and shame for whoever made the decision to treat a 13 yr old like this, let alone for allowing gunshot victims to drown in their own blood. The same goes for every officer who obeyed these decisions. The very least the police can do at this time is catch the coward who committed this vicious and unprovoked crime and convict him.
This family has been broken into pieces. They’ve lost one son and the other is fighting for his life. They cannot continue to live and work in their pub. This is a tragedy for the family, their friends and the whole community. One thing we do know to be true is that Darren and Junior Deslandes are heroes to their family and friends — they put themselves on the line and Darren lost his life in protecting his family while Junior’s life is hanging in the balance.
The Deslandes family wish to express their sincere gratitude to every single person who has expressed their support and condolences. The family would also like to ask everyone to continue to pray for Junior to have a full recovery and for Wintworth, Lurliine, Abigail and James to somehow find a way to put their lives back together.
R.I.P. Darren Deslandes — 11th July 1975 — 1st January 2010
UPDATE: Today Friday 8th January, a man was charged, 30 year old Lobsang Hassan, with the murder of Darren as well as two counts of attempted murder and related gun offences.