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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Benwell shooting plot conspirators facing lengthy jail sentences

Three men who pleaded guilty to a shooting in Benwell face custodial sentences once the basis of their pleas is resolved at a hearing next month.

Kesa Malik, Abdourahmane Sow and Mushfiqur Rahman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence after a shotgun was fired at a man’s home. All three denied being present at the scene of the shooting.

Malik and Sow had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. Rahman changed his plea to guilty a week into his trial.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the three men were among the gang responsible for the shooting last June. It was all the result of a dispute between two groups of people in the west end of the city.

Deborah Smithies, Prosecuting, told the court: “The story begins shortly before 4pm on June 3 last year with an incident outside the Grainger Convenience Store on Fairholm Road involving two groups of men known to each other.”

A Silver Audi A3 was driven toward an 18-year-old as he and his friends moved out of the way. One of them threw a brick at the vehicle.

Miss Smithies said the 18-year-old got a series of phone calls from Kesa Malik and “it’s clear he was very unhappy indeed about what had happened”.

She went on: “Malik threatened him and members of his family, including his uncle, Didar Mohammed – who lives in a terraced house on Colston Street, Benwell.”

Later the same evening at 9.40 pm Mr Mohammed was playing on his Xbox at home when he heard a bang outside but thought nothing of it at that stage.

A few minutes later Malik phoned him and said of the bang: “That’s me with a shotgun”.

He threatened to hurt Mr Mohammed’s nephew and ignored pleas for him to calm down.

Mr Mohammed tried to call his bluff and said he didn’t believe he had a gun and told him to shoot it in the sky if he did.

Miss Smithies said: “Whereupon he heard a bang coming from outside his house.

“He looked outside and saw Malik with other men wearing balaclavas around a silver Audi A3.

“The group invited him to come outside but he declined and told them to leave.”

The prosecutor went on: “Kesa Malik asked one of the others to hand him the gun and he aimed up at the window Mr Mohammed was standing at and fired.

“He was not harmed, the pellets hit the window but didn’t penetrate the double glazing.”

Later the same night Mr Mohammed’s nephew went to the area of a mosque in Elswick.

Around 11.45pm a group of men appeared wearing balaclavas and dark clothing and walked towards the 18-year-old. Some were armed with weapons, including a sawn-off shotgun, small revolver, machete and knives.

The teenager ran away, abandoning his car, which was stolen.

Miss Smithies said: “The prosecution can’t say with certainty who those men were at the Bilal mosque, but one was Mr Sow.

Police recovered a spent shotgun cartridge in Colston Street, found to have DNA from three people on it, one of whom prosecutors said was Rahman.

Two days later police seized Rahman’s Audi which allegedly had a balaclava in the centre console.

Mr Mohammed, 25, in a video-recorded interview with police, said his nephew had told him he had some problems with Malik, and they had argued.

The nephew had said something about Malik’s wife and Malik had said something about mum, he said.

He added when Malik phoned him: “I said calm down you are not in the movies, you are not a gangster.”

He said he offered to talk to him the following day and told him his nephew was a “little kid” and “harmless”.

Of the moment he aimed and shot at the window he was at, he said: “The bullets were a foot away from my head.”

The prosecutor added: “Kesa Malik asked one of the others to hand him the gun and he aimed up at the window Mr Mohammed was standing at and fired.

“He was not harmed, the pellets hit the window but didn’t penetrate the double glazing.”

The men are being held in custody until the next hearing.

 

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