A Flitwick man is one of three found guilty of being involved in the shooting of a 27-year-old man as he made his way to work.
Luton Crown Court heard that Atif Ali, aged 27, at the time of the incident, was shot in the leg as he made his way to work at 8am on May 20 in Dunstable Road, Luton.
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 TV’s Crimewatch programme.
During the trial the jury heard how Mahroof had wanted a relationship with Atif’s fiancée and had arranged for Pillay to shoot Atif with a firearm provided by Matthew McCafferty, from Flitwick.
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.
Mccafferty, 23, of Roman Way, 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 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 at a later date to be confirmed by the court.
Mohammed Shahzad Mahroof, 28, of Selbourne Road, Luton had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to murder; 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. He was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment to serve a minimum of 15 years.
Bernard Pillay, 41, of Campion Close, Uxbridge had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to murder, 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. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 17 years.
Mark O’Neil, 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, 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, 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.
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.
“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.”