Judge in 'life sentence' message to Sheffield gunman found guilty of attempted murder over drive-by shooting of 12-year-old boy
A gunman has been found guilty of attempting to murder a 12-year-old boy in a drive-by shooting in Sheffield.
Stephen Dunford, aged 25, of Fellbrigg Road, Sheffield, and Devon Gregory, aged 23, of Heeley Green, Sheffield, had been accused of being armed with guns in a Ford Focus which passed the 12-year-old boy as he was shot in the left thigh on Northern Avenue, Arbourthorne, about 3.30pm, on January 12.
A jury at the six-week long Sheffield Crown Court trial previously found Devon Gregory not guilty of attempted murder and not guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
However, Dunford was found guilty by the same jury today, Monday, September 21, of attempted murder and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life but he and Gregory were found not guilty of conspiracy to endanger life.
Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told Dunford: “You fall to be sentenced on October 2. It is likely to be a substantial sentence and I may well be considering a life sentence.”
Stephen Wood QC, prosecuting, told the court the boy had been meeting friends when he was shot.
Mr Wood said: “He describes seeing a front-seat passenger cocking a handgun and leaning over the driver before firing and even though he was wearing a hood he could recognise Dunford because he could see his eyes and eyebrows and he heard the gunman shout, ‘we’ve got one’, and he recognised his voice.”
The complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed he saw another hooded offender in the back with a shotgun, according to Mr Wood.
Mr Wood added the intended target may have been someone other than the complainant.
One of the complainant’s friends found a bullet hole in his jacket and fibres on a bullet nearby matched that clothing, according to Mr Wood.
Dunford claimed he was at his grandparents’ home on Myrtle Road at the time of the shooting but Mr Wood said phone investigations indicated he was not at Myrtle Road.
Mr Wood added the complainant’s father said he had heard Dunford on social media doing a rap on a phone about the shooting on Facebook while the defendant was remanded in custody.
Devon Gregory had originally been accused of being the backseat gunman, according to Mr Wood, but he was acquitted by the jury on September 9.
The court also heard a Ford Focus was found burned out on Clough Road.
Dunford was also found guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life after a separate shooting incident on Northcote Avenue, Sheffield, on January 10, according to Mr Wood, after a bullet was found in a vehicle tyre.
Dunford has also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving from November involving a stolen white Ford Focus, according to Mr Wood.
Mr Wood said police also found a gun with DNA traces of another defendant, Brandon Bailey, aged 26, of Manor Park Way, Sheffield, but it is not claimed he was in the car during the shooting. However, he was found guilty of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Police also recovered £19,970 from Bailey’s home, according to Mr Wood, and he has pleaded guilty to possessing criminal property. Bailey will also be sentenced on October 2.