Beds, Herts & Bucks

Gang shot wrong man through letterbox in Watford

Ainsdale Road Image copyright Google
Image caption The intended target was away from his home in Ainsdale Road when the gang fired through his letterbox

A gang planning an attack on a drug dealer shot the wrong man through a letterbox.

Shaun Smith suffered leg injuries when the sawn-off shotgun was fired at him in the flat of Ahmed Oke, the intended target, in December 2016.

Mr Oke, described in court as a drug supplier, was not in his Watford home.

Four men were convicted of conspiring to murder Mr Oke at St Albans Crown Court on Friday and remanded in custody for sentence on 7 December.

After an 11-week trial, Anthony McLaughlin, 27, of Baldwins Lane, Watford; Christopher Kerr, 32, of Leslie House, Wyril Road, Lambeth; Leon Usher, 39, of Bedford Road, Barton-Le-Clay and Wayne Holness, 23, of no fixed address, were all found guilty.

Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption The sawn-off shotgun that was used in the shooting

Prosecutor David Aaronberg QC said Mr Smith was injured after going into the hallway after the doorbell rang at 22:35 GMT on 1 December last year.

He said: "Fortunately, the premises had a reinforced letterbox fitted that absorbed much of impact of shot."

The jury, which deliberated for more than 65 hours, was told that Mr Oke lived in a flat on Ainsdale Road, South Oxhey.

Mr Aaronberg said: "He was concerned in a number of matters that may have led to him being the target for a revenge attack."

Holness was also convicted unanimously of possessing a class B drug with intent to supply.

Michael Smith, 25, of John Street, South Norwood, was cleared of conspiracy to murder and an alternative of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.

He was also found not guilty of possessing a firearm.

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