Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield Aseel Al-Essaie shooting: Trio jailed for life

Matthew Cohen, Dale Gordon and Keil Bryan Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption (L-R) Matthew Cohen, Dale Gordon and Keil Bryan were found guilty of murder

Three men have been jailed for life for shooting dead a 23-year-old as he sat in his car outside his sister's engagement party.

Matthew Cohen, 29, Dale Gordon, 33, and Keil Bryan, 32, were all ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years for the murder of Aseel Al-Essaie in Sheffield.

He was shot at point-blank range on Daniel Hill in February 2017, weeks after a drugs-related dispute.

His mother Aneasa Al-Essaie said she had "lost the feeling of happiness".

Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption Aseel Al-Essaie died after being shot in February 2017

She added: "I have lost not only my son but also my best friend, my confidant and my hopes and dreams.

"No mother should ever have to bury her son. No mother should have to endure the agony and suffering I have been through.

"I would not wish it on my worst enemy."

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All three denied murder but were convicted following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court, which took place amid tight security.

Mr Al-Essaie was shot after a Volkswagen Golf, driven by Cohen, drew alongside his car and a conversation turned into an argument.

One of the two passengers - Gordon, of St Phillips Road, and Bryan, of Brackley Street - shot Mr Al-Essaie in the shoulder with a .44 calibre Smith & Wesson-type revolver.

Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption The car the killers were in was found burnt out

The bullet punctured his lung, heart and abdomen and caused massive internal bleeding.

Mr Al-Essaie's brother, Ali, was sitting in another vehicle yards away and took him to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The Volkswagen was found about four miles away in Grenoside, where it was dumped and set alight by accomplice James Good, 29, on Cohen's instructions.

Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption Good was pictured at a petrol station buying fuel, which was later used to set fire to the car

He had earlier been seen on CCTV at a garage buying a petrol can and four litres of fuel, which was used to torch the vehicle.

Good, of Ringstead Crescent, who earlier pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, was jailed for three years and three months.

'Senseless cowards'

Cohen, of Bramwell Close, said he was driving the Golf when his front-seat passenger shot Mr Al-Essaie, but refused to say who else was in the car.

In a family statement, Ms Al-Essaie described her son as an "intelligent, funny, loving young man with an enchanting charisma".

She said: "No sentence will ever reflect the pain and heartache these senseless cowards have inflicted upon my family.

"We will never come to terms with the loss and we will never be able to resume the life we once had."

Det Ch Insp Steve Whittaker, of South Yorkshire Police, said: "A dispute regarding drugs between a close associate of Mr Al-Essaie and Cohen, just weeks before the shooting, was uncovered as part of the investigation, and proven to be the catalyst that the police believe, ultimately led to the murder.

"The investigation was exceptionally challenging as detectives were met with... a 'wall of silence' from the offenders, who refused to co-operate and would not provide any comment or account of any events or their involvement."

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