BIRMINGHAM BREAKING WEST MIDLANDS

Grim reality of gang life laid bare as two guilty of drive-by murder

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One teenager shot dead. A man and boy set to be jailed for life. The grim reality of children being drawn into gangs was laid bare again today (26 Nov) after two young men were convicted of murder.

The gunman was aged 19 and his co-conspirator just 15 when they fatally shot Abdul Xasan in a drive-by killing in Coventry earlier this year. 

Mr Xasan – himself just 19-years-old – was gunned down as he walked along Harnall Lane into Adelaide Street in Hillfields just after 2.30pm on 13 March.

A post mortem examination revealed he suffered two gunshot wounds to his back which caused catastrophic internal injuries. He died in the street.

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The shooter and his child getaway driver made off in a VW Golf Type R – stolen in Rugby the previous day – and arranged for others to set it on fire in an attempt to destroy forensic evidence.

But they weren’t on the run for long.

We quickly identified them as potential suspects and both were arrested in the early hours of the next morning after we raided their home addresses in Coventry.

Both were electronically tagged at the time due to their suspected involvement in other offences – and we seized tagging information that showed they were in the street at the time of the murder. 

Shotgun cartridges found in the burned out car were also matched by ballistics experts to spent cartridges recovered from the murder scene. 

The stolen car used in the drive-by shooting was found burned out

Despite strong evidence against them the teenagers denied murder – but following a four week trial at Birmingham Crown Court they were found guilty.

The jury found the gunman, now aged 20 and from Longford, unanimously guilty and reached a majority verdict on the boy, now aged 16, who is from the Stoke area of Coventry.

They will be sentenced on 22 December; both will receive life custodial sentences.

For legal reasons we are unable to name the killers at this stage.

The offenders were linked to the C2 gang in Coventry while the victim – who’d been arrested just days before the murder for possessing an imitation gun – was connected to a rival group known as RB7. 

Detective Chief Inspector Scott Griffiths from our Homicide Unit led the investigation.

He said: “There had been ongoing tensions between the two groups, including firearms discharges, in the lead up to the murder.

“What happened was outrageous: a shotgun fired several times in a public street in the middle of the afternoon. It happened not far from a nursery. Other people not connected to either gang could easily have been injured.

“It’s a really tragic case and a stark reminder of the consequences of getting drawn into gangs. One young life has been lost and the lives of two others, including a young child, have been utterly ruined.

“We can help people who want to turn their backs on gang culture. Along with our partners including charities and support groups, we can help young people make better choices.

“But for those who insist of affiliating themselves to violent gangs there is a very strong possibility they are going to be seriously injured, killed or spend much of their life locked up in jail.”