TWO people have been convicted of firearms offences after they targeted a family home near Lichfield.
Rayon Hyde, 28, of Church Lane, Handsworth, Birmingham and Nikita White, 33, of Holly Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, were this week (4 March) convicted following a three week trial at Stafford Crown Court.
They were both found guilty of conspiring to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and two counts of possession of a prohibited firearm. They were both sentenced to 16 years.
A third defendant, Ras Thomas, 32, currently a serving prisoner in an unrelated offence, was found not guilty.
The trial follows an in depth investigation by Staffordshire Police’s Major and Organised Crime Department into incidents, including the indiscriminate discharge of firearms, at a house in Hammerwich near Lichfield.
It is believed that Hyde and White targeted the wrong address. The home they mistakenly shot at was occupied by a family with young children when the shootings took place.
The jury heard that between Thursday 6 February and the evening of Wednesday 12 February 2014 evidence including Automatic Number Plate Recognition data (ANPR), CCTV, witness evidence and telephone cell site data put Hyde and White at the scene of the shootings.
The jury’s verdict concurred that the evidence presented implicated the pair, proving their involvement in the incidents.
The victims first discovered bullets on their driveway on Sunday 9 February 2014 but did not realise their significance until after the events which unfolded on the 12 February 2014. These bullets were later proven to be misfired from a handgun recovered at an address where two of the defendants lived.
At around 10.10pm on Wednesday 12 February 2014 the occupants were at home when they were disturbed by a series of loud bangs. Upon investigation they found bullet damage to the front of the house.
A spent bullet case was found on their driveway and they realised they had been victim of a shooting incident.
Upon further inspection, additional damage was located inside the house, including a bullet in the wall above the door of a room where the occupant had been standing at the time of the attack. Following a detailed forensic examination of the scene eight spent bullet casings and two misfired rounds were recovered from the driveway and surrounding area.
Detectives spent months gathering evidence and following up inquiries, piecing together the involvement of Hyde and White. These inquiries led to the execution of two warrants at addresses in Birmingham.
During this joint operation between Staffordshire Police and West Midlands Police, officers recovered two handguns, one of which was loaded. Later examinations proved one was the same handgun used to attempt to fire the bullets found on the driveway on 9 February and those actually fired at the premises on 12 February.
Other key evidential exhibits seized during the raids included numerous mobile telephones and surgical gloves covered in gun shot residue, which along with other evidence helped place the pair at the scene of the shooting.
DCI Jason O’Toole, Senior Investigating Officer, said: “We welcome today’s result which follows on from an unusual and lengthy investigation.
“Fortunately, firearms incidents are incredibly rare in Lichfield and Staffordshire, and while we suspect it was a targeted attack it was evidently misguided and could have had grave consequences.
“Evidence gathered shows that this was a pre-planned shooting with three previous visits to the address, during which an unsuccessful attempt was made to shoot at the home.
“Thankfully no one was injured but the victims were left understandably shaken by these incidents and we have continued to support them throughout the investigation.
“Gun crime will not be tolerated in Staffordshire and we will do all we can to bring anyone involved in such criminality to justice.”