Three men found guilty of shooting - Luton

18/08/2014

Three men have today, Monday, 18 August 2014, been found guilty at Luton Crown Court of being involved in the shooting of a man last year in Dunstable Road, Luton at its junction with Leicester Road.

The court had heard that Atif Ali, who was 27 at the time of the incident, was shot in the leg at approximately 7.58am on 20 May 2013, as he made his way to work.

During the investigation members of Atif's family undertook several press conferences appealing for information about those responsible for the shooting and CCTV showing Atif's car being followed that morning by a Ford Mondeo, which deliberately crashed in to the victim's Audi, was also featured on the national Crimewatch programme.

During the trial the jury heard how Mahroof had wanted a relationship with Atif's fiance and had arranged for Pillay to shoot Atif with a firearm provided by McCafferty. It was alleged that on the day of the shooting Pillay had followed Atif in a car purchased by Mahroof. It was also alleged that Baig had helped organise the shooting, O'Neil acted as Pillay's driver during the organisation of the incident and as getaway driver on the day, and Hussain acted as a spotter on the day.

Mohammed Shahzad MAHROOF, aged 28, of Selbourne Road, Luton, had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to murder and making threats to kill, but had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit GBH. He was found guilty of conspiracy to murder and making threats to kill and was sentenced to life imprisonment and to serve a minimum of 15 years.

Bernard PILLAY, aged 41, of Campion Close, Uxbridge, had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to murder, but had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit GBH. He was found guilty of conspiracy to murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment and to serve a minimum of 17 years.

Matthew MCCAFFERTY, aged 23, of Roman Way, Flitwick, had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to commit GBH, possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, having a firearm with intent to endanger life, and possessing a prohibited weapon.  He was found guilty of conspiracy to murder and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. He will be sentenced on 01 September.

Mark O'NEIL, aged 41, of Lansbury Drive, Hayes, Middlesex, had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to commit GBH and was found not guilty of all charges.

Mahboob BAIG, aged 31, of Overstone Road, Luton, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to commit GBH and was found not guilty of all charges.

Sajed HUSSAIN, aged 31, of Portland Road, Luton, had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to commit GBH and was found not guilty of all charges.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved an incident, which resulted in the then 27-year-old victim sustaining extensive life changing injuries.

"The victim was gunned down on his way to work on the morning of 20 May last year in Leicester Road, Luton by men 'hired' by a love rival; Shahzad Mahroof to assassinate him.  The victim was driving a silver Audi A3 that was hit from behind by a silver Ford Mondeo, bought with cash the day before, forcing him to get out into the road.  When he did, he was shot, with a sawn off shotgun, at close range in his left thigh.  He lost a lot of blood and needed a 7-hour operation at Addenbrooke's Hospital to save his left leg and his life.  But for swift medical treatment he would have lost his life.  He has been left unable to carry out basic everyday tasks and is expected to have significant on going disability, which will require long term care and support.

"This case represents a tragedy for the victim, and his family, who are devastated by his life changing injuries and the effect they are having on his quality of life.

"We have worked closely with Bedfordshire Police since the investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.

"We know that nothing can undo what happened to the victim, but we hope that today's convictions and sentences brings him and his family and friends at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Iain Morgan, said: "This was a difficult case from the very beginning of the investigation and this verdict is the result of the painstaking detective work undertaken by a team of dedicated police officers who were determined to find those responsible.

"I would like to commend Atif for the bravery and courage he has shown, not only at the time of the offence, but also during the trial. Atif's family have also shown great stoicism throughout this investigation and their support is greatly appreciated.

"Thanks are also due to those people who helped Atif at the time of the shooting. Atif had suffered life threatening injuries and their quick thinking meant that Atif received the medical help he needed as soon as possible and this helped save his life."

He continued: "Bedfordshire Police will not tolerate gun crime and the force continues to crack down on those who commit firearms related offences in our county. Operation Boson, the forces dedicated initiative to stamp out firearms related offences, has so far arrested 161 people, executed 118 warrants and recovered 20 firearms in their mission to keep the streets of our county safe.

"I hope that members of the public will now understand and see for themselves that no matter how long it takes and who is involved; whether it be ethnicity, age, social standing or sex of the victim, these elements do not dictate how an investigation is dealt with - the police will not rest until every piece of evidence is found and justice is done."