Category Archives: Firearms
A man found shot dead alongside his female partner was a retired police inspector of 30 years’ service, a detective have said.
The pair were found dead at a property in Wiltshire on Saturday morning after neighbours alerted the police having heard gunshots.
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Saunders said the man, who has not been named, retired about five or six years ago.
The detective also confirmed that the woman was not the man’s wife, but his partner. Mr Saunders said the bodies were discovered inside the porch.
“The investigation has so far identified that yesterday morning some neighbours overheard a number of gunshots from the address,” he said.
“The investigation continues to try and establish what led to this tragic incident.”
The man was named locally today as Bill Dowling, and his partner Vicky.
One neighbour on the 50-property cul-de-sac, who asked not to be named, said she heard a single gunshot shortly before 8.40am yesterday.
She said: “I thought it sounded like a bang on my door. I didn’t really think too much of it, so I went out to the shops. It was only a few hours later when I had a call from my son to come home that I put two and two together and realised what had happened.”
She said Mr Dowling lived alone at the two-storey property, but was regularly visited by his partner.
An armed raider who tried to rob a bookies died after he was disarmed and restrained by members of the public, an inquest has been told.
Alan Levers, 50, from Plymouth, was wearing a gas mask when he went into the Ladbrokes branch on Crownhill Road in the Devon city shortly before 7pm last Friday.
An inquest into his death was opened this afternoon, at which it was heard a post-mortem examination had yet to establish a cause of death.
Speaking at the hearing, police inspector Steve Brownlow said the unemployed man was carrying an imitation pistol as he attempted to raid the shop.
He added: “He (Levers) was restrained and disarmed by three members of the public.
“He was held face down on the floor.”
He said police officers later handcuffed and arrested Levers while he was on the floor, but noticed he was not moving.
“They (police) removed the mask and commenced CPR,” Mr Brownlow said.
“Paramedics attended but he was pronounced dead at the scene.”
The time of death was confirmed at 7.37pm and Levers’ body was identified the following day by his girlfriend.
Coroner Ian Arrow adjourned the hearing for a later date.
Police praised “brave” members of the public after the incident, saying those who restrained Levers would not have known if the gun was a fake.
The incident had been voluntarily referred to the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, as officers from Devon and Cornwall Police had arrested Levers at the scene before his death was confirmed.
But a statement on the force website later read: “The IPCC has contacted Devon and Cornwall Police to say that having made an assessment, this matter should be subject to a local investigation.”
A police spokesman confirmed this ended the IPCC’s involvement, and that Devon and Cornwall Police’s investigation into the circumstances of the incident would continue as normal.
Levers’ family later apologised for the armed raider’s actions.
A man has been found guilty of supplying a gun to Mark Duggan, whose fatal shooting by police just minutes later sparked the 2011 summer riots.
Kevin Hutchinson-Foster (above) was convicted today of passing the gun to Mr Duggan after a retrial at the Old Bailey. A jury previously failed to reach a verdict at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
During the trial the court heard that Mr Duggan collected the BBM Bruni Model 92 handgun just 15 minutes before he was shot dead on August 4 2011.
The 29-year-old’s death in Ferry Lane, Tottenham, north London, sparked riots that swept across London and other English towns and cities.
Hutchinson-Foster, 30, had denied a charge of “selling or transferring a prohibited firearm” to Mr Duggan between July 28 and August 5, 2011.
A jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court could not reach a verdict after a trial last year, but after a retrial at the Old Bailey, a jury of seven women and five men today convicted him by majority verdict.
During both trials armed police, who gave evidence anonymously, described how they opened fire on Mr Duggan because they saw him get out of the cab holding a loaded gun.
The officer who shot Mr Duggan twice – once in the chest and once in the arm – said he fired because he thought he was going to shoot him and his colleagues.
Mr Duggan (above), who was under police surveillance that day and the day before, had gone in the minicab to Leyton, east London, where he collected the gun in a shoebox from Hutchinson-Foster, before continuing to Tottenham.
The cab was pulled over by armed police in four unmarked cars in a “hard stop”, and as Mr Duggan got out clutching the gun, he was shot.
During the trial, prosecutor Edward Brown QC told the court: “The death of Mr Duggan has been regarded as the event that sparked the riots in north London, which then spread across London and then to other cities and which attracted widespread publicity in the United Kingdom and abroad.”
But he told the jury it was not their task to decide the “rights and wrongs” of Mr Duggan’s shooting, which will be examined at the inquest into his death, set to take place in September.
Hutchinson-Foster has admitted using the same gun to beat barber Peter Osadebay at a barber’s shop in Dalston, east London, just six days before Mr Duggan’s death. The defendant claimed this was why his DNA was found on the gun when it was retrieved from Ferry Lane on August 4, along with traces of Mr Osadebay’s blood.
The gun was found five metres from Mr Duggan’s body, on a grass verge behind railings.
The shoebox, found in the minicab, had both Mr Duggan’s and the defendant’s fingerprints on it, while mobile phone evidence showed they were in contact with each other in the run up to the shooting.
But Hutchinson-Foster, a cannabis user with convictions for possession of cocaine and heroin with intent to supply, claimed Mr Duggan had wanted his help to sell some cannabis.
He said he collected the firearm from someone else so he could beat Mr Osadebay on July 29, but had returned it on the same day.
The jury heard testimonies from the CO19 officers who shot Mr Duggan.
The man who opened fire on the 29-year-old, known only as V53, said he was sure Mr Duggan was holding a handgun.
He shot Mr Duggan once in the chest, then a second time, hitting his right bicep. Afterwards he went to treat a fellow officer who had been hit by a stray bullet, but realising it had hit his radio, started giving CPR to Mr Duggan.
Other officers told the court Mr Duggan was hiding something in his hand when the cab was stopped and saw him raise what appeared to be a gun as he got out.
But the minicab driver, who said he would never be able to wipe the incident from his mind, said he did not see Mr Duggan raise his arms towards officers.
After the verdict, the jury was shown CCTV of the incident at the barber’s shop on July 29, 2011, where Hutchinson-Foster threatened Peter Osadebay, then returned and used the gun to beat him.
Hutchinson-Foster previously pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
“The attack upon Mr Osadebay was described by a male witness as a ‘pistol whipping’ by the defendant and the witness described how they were scared and frightened that he might fire some shots at the members of the public,” said Mr Brown.
He said another witness described being genuinely scared, and told police his girlfriend refused to go back to the salon.
“When police officers arrived they found Mr Osadebay injured, slipping in and out of consciousness, and in fact at one point lost consciousness.
“The Crown’s case has always been that the defendant, if he did obtain it (the gun) between the two visits to the hair salon, kept hold of it until August 4.”
The court heard that Hutchinson-Foster is in prison serving a 54-month sentence for possession of cocaine and heroin with intent to supply. That sentence is due to finish in December.
He had been released from prison after a previous sentence in April 2011, and committed these offences while on licence, Mr Brown said.
The case was adjourned until 11am on February 26, when Hutchinson-Foster will be sentenced.
Alison Saunders, CPS London chief crown prosecutor, said: “The CPS proceeded with this prosecution based on evidence that Kevin Hutchinson-Foster had transferred a gun to Mark Duggan hidden in a shoe box in Tottenham on 4 August 2011.
“He had already lied about possessing the same gun and beating a person with it six days earlier, despite strong evidence linking him to that offence.
“He eventually pleaded guilty to those charges and today a jury found him guilty of this further offence.
“We are committed to tackling the menace of gun crime and will continue working closely with the police to pursue and prosecute those who supply or transfer the weapons that have caused terrible pain to so many families.
“This conviction sends a strong message that gun crime and violence will not be tolerated in London.”
Chief superintendent Dean Haydon, from Scotland Yard’s Trident Gang Crime Command, which tackles gang and gun crime, said: “Kevin Hutchinson-Foster has today been found guilty of supplying a firearm to Mark Duggan.
“This is in addition to the two other offences he has already pleaded guilty to, namely assault and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear.
“There is an ongoing IPCC investigation into the death of Mark Duggan and the circumstances of his death will be a matter for the coroner at a later date.
“The Trident Gang Crime Command supported by specialist firearms officers, lead the Met’s response to the criminal use of firearms in London.
“As a result of the hard work, commitment and dedication of our officers, London has seen a sustained 20% reduction in gun crime over the past four years, and last year alone the Metropolitan Police Service seized over 340 firearms and large quantities of ammunition.
“The Kevin Hutchinson-Foster trial has primarily been about the supply of an illegal firearm and I welcome the verdict of the jury in this case today.”
A man was convicted today of holding two prison officers at gunpoint to help an inmate jailed for a violent assault escape custody.
Garry Cowan, 45, was found guilty of springing Andrew Farndon (above) with the aid of a replica handgun from outside West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds on January 25.
The getaway took place after Farndon was taken to the accident and emergency ward with a knife wound sustained at Highpoint jail in Stradishall, Suffolk.
Farndon was serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection after fracturing a victim’s skull in a hammer attack, and his escape sparked a nationwide manhunt.
Cowan, his former jailmate, had been released 15 days earlier after serving a nine-year sentence for robbery.
He denied possession of a replica firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and assisting an offender to escape.
But a jury at Woolwich Crown Court in London took less than three hours to reach a unanimous guilty verdict on both counts.
Cowan, who has 41 previous convictions for 180 offences, shook his head as the panel of nine women and three men delivered their guilty verdicts.
During the trial, prison officers Kim Lockwood and Chris Matson told the jury they feared they were about to be killed when the gunman threatened to shoot them moments after arriving at the hospital.
Giving evidence, Miss Lockwood said the gunman told her she had 10 seconds to remove the handcuffs from the prisoner, while Farndon kept repeating: “I’m sorry miss, let me go.”
The pair fled by foot before escaping in a getaway car, the trial heard.
Cowan, originally from St Andrews in Scotland, was arrested three days later at the home of another former jailmate, Alan Hornall, in New Cumnock, East Ayrshire.
The jury heard from a number of witnesses who saw a man matching Cowan’s description hanging around the hospital on the day of the hold-up.
Mobile phone data placed Cowan outside West Suffolk Hospital that afternoon, the prosecution said, and the defendant’s DNA was found on a jumper sleeve used as a balaclava and on the inside of a case which allegedly contained the gun.
He was also picked out in an identification parade by Miss Lockwood.
Cowan denied being the accomplice and told the jury he was hitch-hiking through England at the time Farndon escaped.
He claimed Mr Hornall, who served time with him at Highpoint, might have been the gunman and suggested his former jailmate tried to frame him by planting some of the evidence.
During cross examination, prosecutor Gregory Perrins said Cowan was a “bare-faced liar”.
He told the jury that DNA from Farndon and Cowan was found on the seats of a FordEscort used as a getaway car and on the neck of a milk bottle found in the vehicle.
Mr Perrins said when police arrested the pair in Scotland, they found ammunition, instructions and a cleaning brush for the gun in the boot of the Escort, and a checklist Cowan had prepared.
Judge Nicholas Hilliard told the defendant he faces a “substantial” prison sentence.
Farndon, who has pleaded guilty to a charge of escape, is also facing court proceedings in Scotland for three alleged firearm offences.
The pair will be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on January 18.
The mother of Azelle Rodney has accused police of “executing” her son, as lawyers for the officer who shot him six times in north London said he felt he had “no alternative” but to open fire.
Susan Alexander told the inquiry into her son’s death that armed police had “no good reason” to gun down the 24-year-old.
Mr Rodney was killed after the VW Golf in which he was travelling was stopped by unmarked police cars on April 30, 2005 in Edgware, north London.
They believed he and the two men in the car with him – Wesley Lovell and Frank Graham – were on their way to commit an armed heist on a gang of drug dealers. The officer who killed Mr Rodney, known only as E7, opened fire within a second of pulling up beside the Golf.
Samantha Leek QC, for E7, told the inquiry: “He believed that Mr Rodney had picked up and was preparing to shoot a fully automatic weapon, and he fired at Mr Rodney until he believed that there was no longer a threat. He fully understands that Mr Rodney’s family hold him responsible for Mr Rodney’s death. He believed that he had no alternative but to fire.”
Ms Alexander broke down as she read a witness statement to the court room, which is in the High Court Principal Registry of the Family Division, and her barrister had to take over.
She said: “I can only say that I’m still shocked that guns were found by police in the car that Azelle was travelling in when he was killed. I do not believe from what I have heard that police had good reason to shoot at him, let alone kill him. Since April 30, 2005 my life has been in turmoil.”
The mother of three said Graham and Lovell had walked away unharmed that day, while her son, whose girlfriend was eight months pregnant, was killed.
“To state the obvious they were at least able to walk away alive on April 30, and have long since served their prison sentences, while it seems to be that Azelle was executed that day and as a result never got to see his baby daughter.”
The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday.
A man wanted for murder after a police officer was killed has been found dead in an Essex churchyard.
Pc Ian Dibell (above) was shot dead on Monday night and a member of the public suffered leg injuries after Peter Reeve, 64, ran amok in a residential street in the seaside town of Clacton, Essex.
Police launched a manhunt involving hundreds of officers, vowing “not to rest” until they found Reeve.
Pc Dibell, who lived near the Redbridge Road crime scene, was off duty at the time and it is understood he intervened in a dispute.
Reeve was found dead in the village of Writtle, near Chelmsford.
Essex Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said: “I can confirm Peter Reeve, the man wanted for the murder of a serving police officer, was found dead with a weapon in a Writtle churchyard and no shots were fired by the police.”
Mr Barker-McCardle said Pc Dibell had “paid the ultimate price” by placing himself in the line of fire while off duty, adding: “He was a highly regarded and well-liked community police officer.”
Mr Barker-McCardle declared that a number of lines of inquiry were being pursued as to the motive, adding: “There must have been some sort of catalyst that prompted the scale of a tragedy of this kind.”
He said a handgun had been used in the attack and Mr Reeve, who was “largely unknown to police”, did not hold a firearms licence.
He added: “We have had considerable support from the media and the public but Peter Reeve has been found and is dead.”
A customs officer conspired with two “famous” criminals to help them secure massive reductions in their jail terms for drug smuggling, a court heard today.
Paul Cook was acting as an informant handler for John Haase (above) and his nephew Paul Bennett, two “major criminals” waiting to be sentenced for a large-scale scheme to import heroin.
But Haase and Bennett were not genuine informants, they were merely posing as “supergrasses” to deceive the judge in their case into slashing their 18-year prison sentences.
This they managed to do in 1995 with the cooperation of Cook who wrongly told the judge they had been “genuine and valuable informants”, Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court in Surrey heard.
Haase and Bennett provided a large amount of information about caches of guns and drugs in various locations, which they claimed belonged to other criminals.
In fact the men had themselves arranged for the arms and drugs to be planted, then tricked the authorities and judge into giving them credit for the information.
Cook, an HM Customs and Excise officer, was instrumental in this “gross deception of the judge” by placing before him a document “painting a very favourable picture of the men, which he knew didn’t tell the truth” but which helped them enormously, said prosecutor Gibson Grenfell QC.
The 60-year-old did this not for financial gain but most likely in the hope of obtaining useful information about crime, albeit unlawfully, Mr Grenfell suggested.
“Some police officers were not in fact deceived and Cook too came to know exactly what was going on,” he said.
“Nevertheless the object of the agreement was achieved and as a result, justice was perverted.
“In 1995 a sentencing judge was grossly deceived and Haase and Bennett, who should have served years and years in prison, in fact served very little time indeed.”
The men’s sentences were reduced by some 13 years, although in 2008 they were found guilty of perverting the course of public justice after their scam came to light.
Cook’s trial hinges on whether or not he was part of the plot, jurors were told.
He is charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice between 1993 and 1995 and an alternative count of misconduct in public office between 1993 and 2001.
Three men were jailed for life today for a gang-related shooting that left a five-year-old girl paralysed.
Nathaniel Grant, Anthony McCalla and Kazeem Kolawole were hunting down a rival gang member when they shot Thusha Kamaleswaran at her aunt’s south London shop in March last year.
They were found guilty last month of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Thusha and shopper Roshan Selvakumar, who was shot in the face, as well as attempted murder of their intended victim Roshaun Bryan.
Grant will serve a minimum of 17 years, and Kolawole and McCalla at least 14 years.
Kolawole, 19, of Kennington, south east London; McCalla, 20, of Streatham, south London; and Grant, 21, of Camberwell, south east London, were told their crimes were “of the utmost gravity”.
Judge Martin Stephens QC said: “Much of what you did was captured on CCTV and has been shown on television screens across the land.
“One can only imagine the effect on the public when they saw what you had done.”
He said the trio had gone out with a “determined, premeditated intention to kill” that day.
Judge Stephens continued: “Mr Selvakumar was hit in the head but miraculously survived with a piece of bullet remaining in his head.
“Five-year-old Thusha, who was dancing around with her family in the shop, was hit in the body. Only the skill and devotion of the medical teams who became involved saved her life but she remains paralysed below her chest and this condition is permanent.
“This simple but devastating statement of the essential facts of the case illustrate the gravity of these offences, riddled as they are with aggravating factors.”
Judge Stephens told the trio: “Not one of you has, in my judgment, shown a sliver of remorse.”
Grant has previous convictions for robbery and possession of an offensive weapon, Kolawole for affray, and McCalla for robbery, affray, possessing an offensive weapon with intent and violent disorder.
The judge said they posed “a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm in the future”.
He said: “You, Grant, were the gunman and the other two your fully supportive lieutenants backing up all your actions to the hilt and giving you the support and encouragement to carry out these terrible deeds.
“In my judgment, this is an exceptional case of the utmost gravity.
“Shooting into a shop, a confined space where it was known there were people present, is an attack on society itself by men who saw themselves as outside the law and above the law.”
Judge Stephens said the convictions would not have been possible without CCTV, and that he hoped Thusha could go on to lead as full a life as possible.
The trio cycled up to Stockwell Food and Wine on March 29 last year and Grant opened fire into the shop, hitting Mr Selvakumar and Thusha.
Jurors were told he would have been able to see the girl as he fired his second shot.
The three men were members of the Brixton-based OC (Organised Criminals) gang, and were on the hunt for a member of their bitter rivals ABM (All Bout Money).
Thusha was hit in the chest and the bullet passed through the seventh vertebra of her spine.
She went into cardiac arrest twice and had to undergo emergency surgery in the shop and at hospital, and is now permanently paralysed.
Mr Selvakumar has bullet fragments lodged in his head that cannot safely be removed.
After the verdicts last month, Thusha, now six, told the Daily Mail: “I worry that someone will try to hurt me again.”
Her family has been left battling debt and mother Sharmila Kamaleswaran is said to have suffered insomnia and depression.
She said in a victim impact statement that seeing her daughter, who dreamed of being a dancer, in a hospital bed “took my heart away”.
Speaking outside court, Detective Superintendent Gordon Allison said the only time the men had apologised or shown any remorse was when they were seeking to reduce theirprison sentences.
He said: “To the gang members in London: Trident gang command is here. Should you wish to leave gangs, we will engage with you and help you.
“If you do not want to leave gangs and you want to go on with your criminality, we will come after you.”
A police officer is facing disciplinary action for leaving a gun behind after a house search.
Police had raided the property in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast and arrested a 39-year-old man on suspicion of dissident republican activity.
It is understood the firearm and ammunition was left in a child’s bedroom, though there were no children in the house at the time.
Upon realising the weapon was missing, police said they returned to the house and retrieved it 20 minutes later.
A PSNI spokesman said the incident was being treated very seriously.
“After the search an item of officer’s personal equipment, a gun belt which included a firearm, was discovered missing,” he said.
“Police returned to the address after approximately 20 minutes and with the consent of the householder retrieved the item.
“Police are treating the temporary loss of this equipment extremely seriously and have commenced an internal disciplinary investigation into the circumstances of the incident.