Gunman found guilty of attempted murder of 12-year-old in drive-by shooting
Sheffield gang member Stephen Dunford was today found guilty at Sheffield Crown Court of the attempted murder of a 12-year-old boy in a shooting incident on Northern Avenue, Arbourthorne, Sheffield on 12 January 2020.
He was also found guilty of possessing the firearm used in the incident with intention to endanger life on both the day of the shooting and in an earlier incident two days previously.
The boy and a group of friends had agreed to meet because they planned to go a fun park near to the Meadowhall shopping centre. A white car drove past containing five men wearing hoods and balaclavas.
The windows wound down and the victim recognised Stephen Dunford sitting in the front passenger seat holding a shotgun. There was another passenger in the back seat holding a long-barrelled shotgun. Multiple shots were fired at the group. Dunford was heard to say ‘We got one’.
The 12-year-old was hit in the leg, but he managed to make his way home and an ambulance was called. Doctors have since been unable to remove the bullet lodged in his thigh. A bullet passed through the hood of a second child in the group, inches from his head.
The 12-year-old had known Dunford for some time. He was also able to accurately identify Dunford from his eyes, eyebrows, and voice, and later correctly picked him out at an identification parade.
Julian Briggs from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Although it is likely that the young boy was not the intended target, the jury decided that Dunford’s clear intention that day was to kill someone, and today they found him guilty of attempted murder.
“It is only by great good fortune that Dunford’s actions did not result in the tragic death of the 12-year-old child. The second child also narrowly escaped serious injury or death.
“We would like to extend our thanks to the young victim for his bravery and co-operation with the police investigation, which allowed us to build a strong prosecution case. Because of his age, the evidence that he gave was recorded in advance of the trial and the DVD shown to the jury so that he was not required to attend court to be cross-examined in person.
“Dunford is a highly dangerous individual and he is now facing a long jail sentence.
“Our thoughts remain with the boy and his family, as he continues to recover from his injury.”
In addition, fellow gang member Brandon Bailey was also found guilty of conspiring to possess a second firearm with the intention of endangering life, also in January 2020.
Dunford had earlier pleaded guilty to an allegation of dangerous driving on 24th November 2019 in the same vehicle as that used in the shooting. Brandon Bailey had previously pleaded guilty to an allegation of possessing £19,970 cash representing the proceeds of crime.
Notes to editors
- Stephen Dunford D.o.B: 27/10/94
- Brandon Bailey D.o.B: 1/3/94
- Devon Gregory D.o.B: 13/11/96 - not guilty on all charges
- Julian Briggs is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in the Complex Casework Unit, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside.