BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 19:52 GMT 20:52 UK
Judge condemns replica gun trade
Killers Matthias Lescott (left), 18, and Chai Burrell, 23
Lescott and Burrell were jailed for more than 10 years
A judge has condemned the easy availability of imitation guns in Birmingham.

Recorder Richard Wakeley QC said gun crime in the city had increased alarmingly over the last 18 months.

The judge said it was "astonishing that semi-automatic blank-firing guns could be bought so easily and converted into potentially lethal weapons in Birmingham".

His comments came as he sent Chai Burrell, 23, and Matthias Lescott, 18, to jail for 10 years and six months for manslaughter at Birmingham Crown Court.

Victim Peter Stevens
Peter Stevens was shot dead in front of his young son
The jury heard Burrell and Lescott were part of a gang that shot dead 53-year-old Peter Stevens.

Mr Stevens was killed as he tried to protect himself and his nine-year-old son during a drugs-related break-in at his home in Bordsley Green last September.

He received the fatal shot as he tried to defend himself with a machete that he bought after previous break-ins.

The court heard Burrell and Lescott had not planned to use the gun, which had been converted from firing blanks to fire ball bearings.

Judge Wakeley accepted both defendants showed remorse after admitting manslaughter but said anyone who went onto the streets with a firearm was a danger to the public.

'Stricter control'

After the hearing Detective Chief Inspector Chris Pretty, of West Midlands Police said: "In the past year we have seen a proliferation of adapted firearms, which is what we think was used in this sad case.

"We have ongoing operations trying to intercept them before they go on the streets."

Steve McCabe, MP for Hall Green in the city, said he wants the law on imitation weapons tightened.

"There should be much stricter control. It seems to me they are far too readily available," he said.


Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

29 May 02 | England
30 Jan 02 | England
29 Aug 01 | UK
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes