Police have issued video of the moment a car exploded into a fireball after being torched by a man who tried destroying evidence of its links to a murder. CCTV from Charterhouse Drive, Coventry, shows Otis Collier and an accomplice running from the blaze after setting alight a VW Golf that hours earlier was used in a fatal shooting.
Collier was hoping the fire would hinder our investigation into the drive-by killing of Abdul Xasan in Coventry on 13 March 2020. However, police found shotgun cartridges in the burned-out shell which ballistics experts matched to spent cartridges recovered from the murder scene in Adelaide Street.
In November 2020, child getaway driver Riaz Ahmed and 19-year-old Carren Monga – who fired the fatal shots through the Golf’s window – were both jailed for life following our investigation. Our enquiries revealed Collier agreed to meet Ahmed shortly after the shooting and drove him home in a blue Ford Focus.
We then found lots of phone calls between Collier, aged 20, and Ahmed before the car was set on fire at around 8pm that night. He claimed it was a conversation about the sale of a bike but we believe they were arranging for the car to be torched.
And police found images in a folder called “for my eyes only” on Collier’s phone containing images of two men in balaclavas inside the stolen VW Golf that were taken just minutes before the car was destroyed. Collier, from Portsea Close in Coventry, denied assisting offenders but was found guilty by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court on 29 June.
He was jailed for four years at the same court on Thursday (30 June) which will run consecutively to the nine years he’s already serving for unrelated matters. Detective Sergeant Steve Parkes ran the investigation. He said: “Collier was trying to help two gang members get away with murder: he plotted to try and destroy vital evidence. “Ultimately he failed. Despite the destruction of important forensic evidence, police scientists were able to link the remnants of shotgun cartridges from the Golf to those recovered at the scene.
“And through painstaking CCTV enquiries we were able to piece together the movements of both the Golf and the Ford Focus throughout that fateful day. “We put a compelling case to a jury that led to Ahmed and Monga being jailed for life, and now Collier will also spend several years behind bars. “Anyone who associates themselves with gangs risks being killed or seriously injured, or spending much of their life behind bars.
“We work with partners to offer young people better life choices and help to exit gang affiliation – but for anyone intent on causing harm in our communities we will take firm action.”