A man who drove around a Brent estate with a loaded firearm before shooting a teenager multiple times has been sentenced for firearm and drug offences.
Waele Bittar, 20, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment at Croydon Crown Court on Monday, 6 April.
He was found guilty at the same court following a trial on Wednesday, 3 July 2019 of grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. He was found not guilty of attempted murder.
Previously, Bittar pleaded guilty to common assault and cultivation and conspiracy to supply a class B drug (cannabis).
Police were called at approximately 10.15pm on Monday, 3 December 2018 to Williams Way, off Harrow Road, in Sudbury, to reports of gunshots.
Officers and the London Ambulance Service attended and found a 19-year-old man suffering from multiple gunshot injuries to his legs.
He was taken to a north London hospital where his injuries were assessed as not life-threatening.
Witnesses told officers they saw a dark coloured car drive-off at speed after the shooting – this vehicle was later linked to Bittar.
Detectives from the Met’s Trident and Area Crime Command, now part of Specialist Crime, launched an investigation to track down the person responsible for the shooting.
Officers attended and searched the crime scene, finding three fired cartridge cases.
Detectives carried out a number of enquiries, including reviewing CCTV and tracking mobile phone and vehicle movements. As a result, Bittar was identified as a suspect.
Bittar, also known as ‘Alex,’ was arrested at an address in Luton on Wednesday, 9 January 2019 on suspicion of attempted murder. He was taken to a north London police station.
The court heard that following the shooting, Bittar completely changed his routine. The same night as the shooting, he moved out of London and initially stayed in the Chesham area of Buckinghamshire before moving to Luton in Bedfordshire. He did not stay in London for a single night following the shooting, which was out of character for Bittar.
As part of their enquiries, officers also gathered evidence against Bittar who was captured on CCTV assaulting his ex-girlfriend at about 16:35hrs on the same day as the shooting (3 December 2018) in a street nearby. He was further arrested in custody on suspicion of common assault.
During the time between the assault and the shooting, there were several phone calls between Bittar and his ex-girlfriend – with them becoming more frequent in the minutes leading up to the shooting.
Bittar drove around the estate three times, with a loaded gun in the car, until he spotted the 19-year-old victim, confronted him and shot him by opening the driver’s door.
The court heard that Bittar’s ex-girlfriend was believed to be romantically involved with the shooting victim. It was put to the jury that Bittar had been looking to confront his ex-girlfriend again following the events earlier that day. However, the victim intervened on her behalf, which resulted in him getting shot.
Following his arrest, officers searched an address linked to Bittar in Edgware, Harrow, where they found a cannabis factory with more than 150 cannabis plants. Officers analysed Bittar’s two mobile phones and found evidence showing he had also been supplying the cannabis to people.
Bittar was further arrested on suspicion of the drug offences. During his police interviews, he answered no comment to all questions put to him.
He was charged on Thursday, 10 January 2019 and was convicted as above.
Through their enquiries, detectives established that Bittar was working with a man called Enea Helmesi to cultivate and supply the cannabis. Helmesi, 27 (06.10.92), of Heybourne Crescent, Barnet, was linked to further cannabis factories. He was arrested on Thursday, 11 April 2019 and charged the following day.
He pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court on Friday, 22 May 2019 to conspiracy to supply drugs with Bittar, two counts of production of a class B drug (cannabis), possession of a class B drug (cannabis) with intent to supply, possession of criminal property (£10,000) and two counts of false identification with improper intention.
He was sentenced at the same court on Sunday, 2 August 2019 to 40 months’ imprisonment.
Detective Sergeant John Cowell, from Specialist Crime, said: “Bittar is a dangerous individual who callously gunned down a 19-year-old man in the street. To add to this, he subjected his ex-partner to a prolonged abusive relationship, beating her in the street just hours before the shooting. Bittar demonstrated he was not afraid to use extreme violence and he now faces a lengthy stint behind bars.
“Not only was he violent, but he was also concerned in the cultivation and supply of cannabis alongside Helmesi, polluting the streets of London with drugs. This type of behaviour is unacceptable and the Met will continue to crackdown on individuals who think they are above the law.”