Bristol

Gang held Weston-super-Mare family at gunpoint

A gang held a father, son and family friend at gunpoint in Weston-super-Mare in the mistaken belief they were storing drugs in their home.

Gang members were found guilty of conspiracy to rob and possession of a firearm at Bristol Crown Court on Thursday.

A female defendant was found guilty of false imprisonment.

Some gang members had previously pleaded guilty in connection with the case.

The court heard Stewart Cole, his son Liam and a family friend were watching television at home in March last year when the gang, wearing balaclavas and a crash helmet, burst in.

Ashley Pritchard, 22, of Easton in Bristol, jabbed a loaded 9mm semi-automatic gun into Liam's head and asked: "Where's the weed, where's the money?", the court heard.

Image caption The gang were prosecuted at Bristol Crown Court

'Without a struggle'

After ransacking the house, the gang left with cash, phones, watches and computer equipment but were stopped by an armed Avon and Somerset Police unit in Wick St Lawrence, on their way back to Bristol.

They gave themselves up without a struggle.

Stewart and Liam Cole are now in a witness protection programme.

Det Insp Simon Wilstead said: "They are clearly scarred by their experiences and it has changed the circumstances of their lives. We have provided support to them and that support will continue "

Police are also looking after another witness and victim who was kidnapped and intimidated.

During the trial the jury heard Mr Cole's friend Chantel Patel, from Banwell, was captured and tied up.

He was told if he did not persuade his friend to change his story, he would be handed over to the gang, the court heard.

Jamie Veira, 24, of St David's Crescent, Bristol, and Leon Duncan, 25 of Easton, were found guilty of conspiracy to rob and possession of a firearm with intent.

Marrissa Campbell, 23, of Norfolk Buildings in Bath, was found guilty of false imprisonment.

Alexander Fillingham, 21, of Chesham Road, Weston-super-Mare, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob at a previous hearing and was earlier found guilty of possession of a firearm with intent.

Pritchard pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, possessing a firearm and robbery at a previous hearing.

Jack Jones, 21, of Weston-super-Mare, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment at an earlier hearing.

Wesley White, 24, from Bristol, had previously admitted supplying the firearm.

The gang will be sentenced at a later date.

Arfan Hussein, 24, of Easton, was found not guilty of conspiracy to rob and not guilty of possession of a firearm with intent.

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