Did Benji Stanley die because he was wearing a red bandana? He was a Manchester United supporter but red was also the colour of one of the rival Moss Side factions.
Benji, 14 years old and 6ft 1in tall, was shot dead in Alvinos Patty and Dumpling Shop takeaway in Moss Side, scene of much of Manchesters drug and gang warfare, on Saturday, January 2nd, 1993. He had gone there with his friend.
Witnesses said that a stocky black man with a balaclava mask and combat overalls shot him with a pump action shotgun. The first two bullets caught him in the leg and as he fell the gunman shot him a third time in the chest.
By the time of the inquest nearly a year later, Benjis friend had apparently
changed his mind over the identity of the gunman. So to this day no one is certain whether Benji was involved in drug dealing, whether it was a case of mistaken identity, or whether he was thought to be a member of the gunmans rival mob.
The killing provoked national outrage which brought a temporary halt to local gang violence. The truce lasted only a few weeks, for in the spring of that year there was an outbreak of shootings in the area culminating in a machine-gun attack on a pub.