A shotgun-wielding member of an organised cannabis factory raiding gang accidentally blasted a man in the chest who was trying to protect the crop. Gashar Mayala, then also accidentally shot himself in the leg with the weapon.
Mayala, 28, of Greenland Drive, Sheffield, who had previously been acquitted of attempted murder and wounding with intent but was convicted of possessing a firearm with intent to commit robbery, following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, was jailed for 11 years. Abdul Yeslem, 24, of Bressingham Road, Sheffield, who had admitted aggravated burglary, was sentenced to six years and eight months.
A third defendant, Hassan Karca, 23, of no fixed address, who was convicted of having an offensive weapon, was handed a 12 month community order. The raiders had driven down in convoy from Sheffield on October 22 last year in order to steal 167 plants being grown at a disused shop in Ladypool Road, Sparkhill, with an estimated value of £100,000.
In the early hours of the next day one of the vehicles went on a “scouting mission” before six people, armed with weapons, including Mayala, who had a loaded shotgun, and Karcha, went down a back alleyway leading to the shop.
Amrisha Parathalingam, prosecuting, said the gang, had brought white sheets with them to take the plants away, and had taken some time, using items including a sledgehammer, a crow bar and bolt cutters, to break down an iron gate in the alleyway.
They had been joined by four others who then also forced open a fortified rear door to the premises. Unbeknown to them someone who had been inside got out through the front of the shop, by lifting shutters, and alerted others whose crop it was.
As a result an Audi A6 arrived at the scene carrying a team of men also armed with weapons including machetes. Miss Paralthalingam said Mayala, had been seen leading the group with the shotgun held at waist height and had shot the victim who had confronted him before backing off. She said: “On the jury’s verdict they must have determined that he accidentally shot him within three to five seconds.”
The court heard that Mayala fled with Karca but he later shot himself in his lower leg and had to be taken to hospital. During the incident Yeslem appeared to have been cornered in the alleyway and he hid by climbing on a roof.
Karca boarded a bus back to Sheffield before going to Ireland where he was arrested while Yeslem was on April 13 this year at Heathrow airport after travelling back from Cairo. Judge Avik Mukherjee, in passing sentence on Mayala, said: “By the jury’s verdict you did not intend to injure anyone but you deliberately armed yourself with a lethal loaded weapon.
“There was a significant risk of serious injury or death. You played a leading role in this. This was planned and organised. It was conducted in order to maximise fear and a firearm was discharged.
“You acted as a group and you did this for financial gain.” Islam Khan, for Mayala, said that his parents separated when he was very young, that he lacked a father figure and that he was easily influenced by others.
He went on: “He is ashamed about getting himself involved. He wishes he had never come to Birmingham in the first place.” Mr Khan said Mayala had aspirations for starting up a fashion business.
Tarlowchan Dubb, defending, for Yeslem, said although there was some planning the raid had been unsophisticated.