The cases stemmed from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate investigation into the death of Joe Daniels at a pub in Folkestone on 22 November 2017.
Eli Smith and Robin Ling were eliminated from enquiries in relation to Mr Daniels’ death but charged with multiple offences in relation to three firearms recovered as part of that investigation.
Ling was later charged alongside three other men following a second, separate investigation into a firearm obtained as part of an apparent revenge plot in April 2019.
The first investigation was launched after Mr Daniels, 58, was found with a gunshot wound in the Red Cow pub in Foord Road, Folkestone and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Two converted blank firing pistols were recovered from the pub during the investigation and forensic examination of the weapons linked them to Eli Smith and Robin Ling.
Both men were arrested and items were found at Smith’s house which were suspected to have been used for the conversion of firearms. A further home-made gun was also found in Smith’s car.
Ling said in interview that he had touched several weapons while at Smith’s home.
Ling was also sentenced in relation to a separate investigation into a weapon he and two other men, Charlie Anderson and Christian Algar, obtained from another man, Samuel Jameson, as they plotted revenge on two men they believed had assaulted Algar in 2019.
Algar was seriously assaulted on 29 April 2019, resulting in him needing hospital treatment at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and later the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
Whilst in those hospitals, Algar was visited by Ling and messages were sent between the pair and Anderson, discussing revenge and getting hold of ‘metal work’, code for a gun.
On 1 May, Ling was seen near Jameson’s home in Hersden, near Canterbury, where he is believed to have obtained an 8mm Bruni semi-automatic pistol.
That evening, officers in a police car saw an object being thrown from a vehicle being driven by Ling near Upstreet. They noted the location and armed officers stopped the car further down the road.
Ling and Anderson were arrested at the scene and when officers returned to the location where the object had been thrown, they found the gun wrapped in kitchen roll.
Analysis of messages between Ling, Anderson and Algar showed them discussing possible attacks on the men.
Jameson’s DNA was found on the weapon and when officers attended his home they found two tasers of a type banned under the Firearms Act.
At Maidstone Crown Court on 22 June 2021:
• Eli Smith, 26, formerly of Valley Road, Canterbury, was jailed for 10 years and eight months after admitting converting a firearm, possessing a prohibited weapon, possessing a firearm and ammunition without a certificate and two charges of transferring a prohibited weapon.
• Robin Ling, 27, formerly of Beach Road, Westgate-on-Sea, was jailed for 10 years and four months after admitting two counts of possessing a prohibited firearm in relation to the first investigation and possession of a prohibited firearm and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm in relation to the second case.
• Samuel Jameson, 26, formerly of The Street, Hersden, was given a seven-year, four-month sentence after admitting transferring a prohibited weapon and possession of the tasers.
• Charlie Anderson, 26, formerly of East Street, Canterbury, was jailed for five years and four months after admitting conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.
• Christian Algar, 37, of no fixed address, was given a four-year, six-month sentence after admitting conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Chris Greenstreet said: ‘The tragic death of Mr Daniels remains unsolved and our thoughts are with his family, who we have kept updated throughout our enquiries.
‘Eli Smith and Robin Ling are no longer being investigated in relation to Mr Daniels’ death and have been eliminated from this part of our enquiries.
‘However, the investigation into his death led to the seizure of a number of firearms and the jailing of a man who converted pistols to be used by criminals to threaten, injure and terrify victims.
‘The separate case of Ling, Anderson and Algar, which was sentenced at the same time, gives an example of three such men who were committed to doing serious harm to others.
‘Their eagerness to get hold of a gun and apparent determination to carry out the assault shows this conspiracy would likely have led to a very serious incident had it not prevented by the police.’