'A bullet skimmed my top lip': Ex-gang member who was 'stabbed and shot at' aged 15 on life inside Brixton's turf wars

Published date19 May 2021
Publication titleMyLondon (England)
At the age of 11, he witnessed violent robberies and muggings as he walked to school in the gang torn Myatt’s Field and Angell Town estates in Brixton.

By 15, the teenager had been shot at and stabbed and had become adjusted to hearing that his friends had been murdered by rival gangs.

“My moustache hides the evidence of a bullet skimming my top lip,” explains the 30-year-old in his tell-all book One Chance.

“I have nightmares in which I’m back in the hood, bullets flying towards me, friends being killed.

“I don’t think the fear will ever leave me. Not completely.”

Inspired by the 11 months he spent in Belmarsh prison for a crime he never committed, Terroll was remanded and acquitted of manslaughter, the book provides an insight into how London’s gangs operate and lure children into a world of violence.

“I am trying to make people understand,” Terroll, who now suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to his past, tells My London.

“It is a story about a young person who has experienced a lot of violence from childhood on their estate and being part of a gang.”

'We became teenagers and crazy stuff happened'

Despite playing professional football for Stevenage as a youngster, Terroll, now 30, was only offered £50 a week to play. This was not enough to turn him away from gang life.

“It’s a community but it’s a community with a lot of trouble and a lot of violence,” explains Terroll when asked about gang life.

“You have your persons you love. You would stand next to them at all costs.”

Speaking to Terroll in the book, one gang member explained: “We were a group of kids who grew up together on the Myatts Field estate.

“Many of us, myself included, came from broken or violent homes. We were lost, but we boys had each other. We were brothers. We played football and knock down ginger.

“Then we became teenagers and crazy stuff started happening. The area was violent. There were shootings and stabbings. Beef within the estate, but also with the Peckham Boys.

“We never set out to become one of the most feared gangs in London. Our brotherhood grew in numbers as we protected our estate. It became a clash of egos and postcodes.”

Terroll puts his changed life down to his time in prison, particularly from speaking to inmates who were in Belmarsh for life.

“First day I got to prison I got offered a sandwich and there were stones in it,” he explains.

“Going through the experience of prison was very difficult at first but I am grateful for recharging.

“I...

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