Former Millwall striker Gavin Grant guilty of murder

Gavin Grant
Image caption Gavin Grant was cleared in 2007 of a shooting murder

A professional footballer has been found guilty of murdering a man on a north-west London estate.

Former Millwall striker Gavin Grant, 26, shot dead Leon Labastide on the Stonebridge Park Estate in Harlesden in 2004, the Old Bailey was told.

Grant, who also played for Wycombe Wanderers and Bradford City, was involved in a series of "tit-for-tat" shootings on the estate, jurors heard.

Grant, who had denied murder, is due to be sentenced on Monday.

Gareth Downie, 25, from Markby Road, Birmingham, was also found guilty of murdering Mr Labastide.

And Damian Williams, 32, from Tower Bridge Road in Southwark, was convicted of conspiring with them to murder Mr Labastide.

Image caption Gareth Downie (L) and Damian Williams were also involved in Mr Labastide's murder

The court heard that Mr Labastide's killing led to the murder of Jahmall Moore in 2005 and Grant's arrest.

Grant, from Shrewsbury Avenue, Kenton, north-west London, was later cleared of shooting Mr Moore, 22, who died in a hail of bullets fired by three gunmen.

He had also denied involvement in Mr Labastide's killing, claiming the 21-year-old was a friend, but was found guilty of murder following trials in December and this month.

Jurors heard trouble flared after a burglary in which three women were terrorised and it was suspected that £20,000 in drug money was taken.

A 16-year-old girl, who had been in the house, gave evidence under an assumed name.

Mr Labastide was rumoured to have been behind the burglary and Williams arranged for Grant and Downie to shoot him, the court was told.

Officers from Operation Trident, which investigates gun crime in the black community, believe as a result of the burglary there were up to 30 connected shooting incidents in the area.

Following the arrests of Grant and others, officers said shootings fell by almost 50% in the area.

Det Insp Steve Horsley said: "Gavin Grant thought he had got away with murder.

"He carried on his footballing career while, all along, he had blood on his hands."

Image caption Leon Labastide, aged 21, was shot dead in 2004

During the trial, Prosecutor Stephen Batten QC said many of the people involved in the case had been linked to shootings and drug dealing on the estate.

He said: "Attitudes and standards are different. It is more the law of the jungle than the law of civilised England."

Roberto Parchment, 24, originally convicted of Mr Moore's murder, was found guilty again following a retrial in December.

He was jailed for life again and ordered to serve the remainder of his 28-year sentence.

Downie and Williams will also be sentenced on Monday.

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