TWO men arrested after a gun was fired at a car in a residential street in Dewsbury have each been jailed for 16 years.
Sentencing Michael Bowman and Mark Lennon yesterday, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, told them: “You both clearly belong that group of criminals who give no second thought to carrying guns when engaged in crime. That I view very seriously indeed.”
He said they and another man had travelled from London to West Yorkshire to the home of Mohammed Aslam in Clarkson Street, Ravensthorpe, on June 10 after telephone evidence disclosed Lennon had been in contact with him.
Aslam is facing trial next year accused of conspiracy in relation to heroin importation and the judge said while there was no direct evidence as to the reason for their visit, “I have no doubt that it was in some way connected with the abominable trade in heroin.
“The three of you came here in that late summer’s afternoon armed with a revolver. The gun was loaded with five live cartridges.”
What took place inside the house was unknown but neighbours heard a shot before Bowman’s group fled into the street shortly after 7.30pm. When they found a car driven by Razwan Hussain, a co-accused of Aslam’s, blocking the way of their Lexus car, Bowman brandished the gun, telling him to move.
“He refused and you pointed the gun in his direction and pulled the trigger,” Judge Collier said.
“The weapon was discharged, the bullet hitting the rear edge of the bonnet of the car, ricocheted onto the windscreen, breaking it, and was then deflected up over the top of the vehicle.”
He said Razwan Hussain was fortunate the shot was deflected.
After the shooting they fled the scene but the police were given their car number and they were spotted on the M1.
The pair were arrested when they abandoned their vehicle after turning off into Todwick, near Sheffield, where the third man escaped.
While Hussain was not physically injured he was clearly traumatised, the judge said, adding: “I have heard his 999 call”.
Bowman had previous convictions for dishonesty and violence including joint possession of an unloaded firearm found in a car boot, while Lennon had a “worse” record including in 2005 possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
“The possession and use of firearms is always a grave offence. The circumstances of this case are extremely grave indeed; that gravity must be reflected in the sentence I now pass.”
Bowman, 44, of no fixed address, and Lennon, 40 of Queenstown Road, London, were each found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, ammunition without a firearms certificate and possessing a prohibited weapon – the .44 calibre British Bulldog handgun.
Bowman was cleared of attempted murder. He told the jury he fired in panic believing someone in Hussain’s car also had a gun.
After the case Det Supt David Pervin said: “We welcome the very strong sentences today for Bowman and Lennon which send a very clear message that those who think it is acceptable to posses, carry or fire prohibited weapons should expect to face significant time behind bars.
“The firing of a weapon in this manner in a quiet residential street was an outrageous act, but hopefully the very swift arrests made by detectives at the time and today’s sentences have helped provide some reassurance to those in the local community.
“Detectives will relentlessly pursue those involved in gun crime, and we would always ask residents who have information about firearms offences to get in touch.”