YouTube rapper who shot at crowd in London jailed

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Aron Thomas
Image caption,
Aron Thomas hit a man in the leg when he fired eight shots at the crowd

A rapper on YouTube who acted out his violent lyrics when he fired at random at a crowd in north London has been jailed for 11 years.

Aron Thomas, 23, shot someone in the leg when he fired eight shots near Wood Green Tube station in February.

Thomas, of north London, performing under the name Vipex, had boasted on his videos about his use of firearms.

Thomas pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and to a firearms charge.

The Old Bailey was told that in one of the videos he bragged: "I back out my ting and start a quick evacuation".

Diving for cover

Adrian Darbishire, prosecuting, said the words corresponded with footage from the scene of people "literally diving for cover in fear of their lives".

Lloyd Wisdom, the man who was struck by one of the bullets, had been out with friends when he heard two shots and started to run.

"He heard a third shot and realised that he had been struck by a bullet in his lower leg," said Mr Darbishire.

He was taken to Whittington Hospital, where he spent two days.

Arsenal FC volunteer

Most of the bullet was taken out of his leg but some fragments remained and he was left needing to use crutches and "in a lot of pain", the court heard.

The court was told Thomas was jailed in 2005 for 42 months for kidnap and attempted robbery after he and two others threatened a man and tried to make him withdraw £1,000 from his bank account.

In September 2007 he was part of a large gang who beat up a man outside a nightclub, and was jailed for seven months for affray.

Adrienne Knight, defending, said Thomas had worked as a volunteer at Arsenal football club with 14 and 15-year-olds and was "held in high regard there".

She said he carried out the shooting out of a "misguided sense of loyalty" because of "his brother getting into trouble with people in that area".

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