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
 Friday, 3 January, 2003, 23:44 GMT
Gunmen fired more than 30 shots
From left: Cheryl Shaw, Charlene Ellis, Sophie Ellis and Latisha Shakespeare
Charlene (second left) and Latisha (right) both died
Police hunting the gunmen who killed two teenage girls at a party in Birmingham say more than 30 shots were fired in the attack.

At least two weapons, including a sub-machine gun, were used in the shootings outside a hairdressing salon in the city on Thursday.

Following the killings there have been calls for the government to consider minimum five year jail terms for criminals caught using firearms.

Rewards totalling 35,000 have been put up in an attempt to catch the killers of Charlene Ellis, 18, and Latisha Shakespeare, 17.

This was a senseless incident and a senseless loss of life

Det Supt David Mirfield

Charlene's twin sister Sophie and 17-year-old Cheryl Shaw were also injured in the incident - all four girls were cousins.

Cheryl has returned home, but Sophie Ellis remains under armed guard in hospital, where her condition is described as stable.

Detectives say none of the girls was a member of a gang.

They released a picture of the girls who had posed for the snap moments before leaving to attend the party.

The four girls, who are all from Birmingham, had stepped out of the party at the Uniseven Studios hairdressing salon in Birchfield Road, Aston, at about 0400 GMT to cool off, when they were hit by a stream of bullets.

One possibility detectives are examining is that there was an exchange of gunfire between two gangs.

Birmingham
The shooting happened in the Aston area of the city

The MP for Perry Barr, the area which contains the murder scene, said the guns used in the shootings could have been decommissioned terrorist weapons from Northern Ireland, traded in exchange for drugs.

Asked what proof he had for his claims, Kahlid Mahmood told BBC Midlands Today he had spoken to community workers and other people in contact with gang members.

He said: "We had somebody spending off thirty rounds on an automatic rifle, that is something that they're getting hold of and... my information is that (Northern Ireland) is where they are getting it from."

Night out

Senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent David Mirfield said: "This was a senseless incident and a senseless loss of life.

"I must stress that these girls were not members of any gang.

"They were merely out for a night out with friends.

"They became involved in a shooting incident during which in excess of 30 shots were fired."

He said more than one weapon was used and at least one of the weapons was a sub-machine gun.

He urged anybody who knew anything, or saw the incident, to contact police.

"Somebody knows something. We need them to come forward.

"I need the people that were outside the hairdresser's on that night to come forward.

"And I also need anybody that knows anything about this incident to make contact with the incident room or anonymously with Crimestoppers."

Legal moves

Police have backed a 25,000 reward, offered by the Daily Mail newspaper, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killers.

It follows the Birmingham Evening Mail and the Victims of Crime group earlier offering a reward totalling 10,000 for the capture of the gunmen.

Home Secretary David Blunkett is reportedly ready to add new minimum jail terms for possession of firearms to the Criminal Justice Bill.

Mr Blunkett told MPs last year he was considering amending the bill to include the measure, saying there was "good reason" for it.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"The police admit they can't solve this crime without local help"
  Det Supt David Mirfield of West Midlands Police
"This was a senseless incident and a senseless loss of life"
  Labour MP for Perry Bar, Khalid Mahmood
"People are feeling very vulnerable at the moment"

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

03 Jan 03 | Politics
02 Jan 03 | England
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