Birmingham riots: Men jailed over police shooting
- 7 June 2012
- From the section Birmingham & Black Country
Five men and a teenager have been jailed after police were "lured" to a pub fire and shot at in Birmingham during riots last August.
The men were given sentences ranging from 18 to 30 years at Birmingham Crown Court while a 17-year-old was jailed for 12 years.
Twelve shots were fired at police after a petrol bomb attack on the Bartons Arms in Aston.
The West Midlands force helicopter was also shot at.
The court heard the defendants were part of a group of 41 men, mostly masked and wearing hoods, who were rioting outside the Bartons Arms in Aston on the evening of 9 August.
Judge William Davis QC said the aim of the disorder was to draw police to the pub in order to attack them.
He said: "Members of the group attacked the building. They smashed windows, they went inside and ransacked the premises. They threw chairs and tables out on to the pavement.
"Other members of the group stayed on the pavement outside the building. Some threw missiles, bottles and the like, at a passing police car. Others lit petrol bombs that had been brought to the scene.
"The purpose of all this was not to loot or to steal. Nor was it mindless vandalism. The purpose, the common purpose, was to behave in such a way that the police would come to the scene and then to attack the police."
The lives of pub staff and customers were put at risk in the blaze, the court heard.
Judge Davies said at least four different firearms were used, at least 12 shots were fired and it was "wholly a matter of luck" no-one was injured.
West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Cann said the force helicopter could have been shot down.
'Wave of lawlessness'
He said: "Thankfully officers were not injured but we can't underestimate the impact it's had on those involved."
Judge Davies said a "wave of lawlessness" had spread across many towns and cities and "severe penalties" had to be imposed to act as a punishment and a deterrent.
The five men were convicted of riot, reckless arson and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life.
Amirul Rehman, 17, of Albert Road, Aston, was convicted of riot and firearms offences but cleared of arson. The teenager has been named after the judge lifted earlier reporting restrictions.
Nicholas Francis, 26, of Thetford Road, Great Barr, Birmingham, described by the judge as the most dangerous of the men, was jailed for 30 years.
Tyrone Laidley 20, of Chadsmoor Terrace, Nechells, and Jermaine Lewis, 27, of Summerton Road in Oldbury, were sentenced to 23 years.
Wayne Collins, 25, from Ouseley Close in Luton, and Renardo Farrell, 20, of The Terrace, Finchfield, Wolverhampton, were jailed for 18 years.
Jurors in the six-week trial were shown CCTV footage of a gunman, said by the prosecution to be Laidley, firing at the police helicopter as it tracked suspects during disturbances in the early hours of 10 August.
Assistant Chief Constable Cann paid tribute to officers involved on the night who had obtained "vital footage for the investigation" despite being shot at.
Two other defendants, Joyah Campbell, 19, of Hanover Court, Aston, Birmingham, and a 17-year-old, were acquitted last week of riot, arson and firearms possession.