Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 15:58 UK

Eight murders linked to factory

By Michael Stoddard
BBC News, Reading

Michael Dosunmu
Michael Dosunmu was shot with a gun converted at The Briars

Replica Mac-10 sub machine guns converted into live firing weapons by Grant Wilkinson at The Briars near Reading have been linked to seven London murders and a deadly shooting in Bradford.

They include the killing of 15-year-old Michael Dosunmu as he slept in his Peckham home and the shooting of music producer Richard Holmes in Chingford.

One of the guns was also used during an armed robbery in Bradford which led to the death of Pc Sharon Beshenivsky in 2005, although it was not the murder weapon.

Wilkinson, 34, was behind an operation supplying gangsters with deadly weapons, Reading Crown Court heard.

He now faces prison after being found guilty of seven firearm offences relating to the conversion of replica sub machine guns into live weapons.

His co-defendant, Gary Lewis, 38, of Bourne End, Bucks, was cleared of all charges.

Shakira Dosunmu
Mrs Dosunmu hopes the remaining guns will be recovered

When Michael Dosunmu was shot as he slept in his south-east London home in February 2007 it was with a gun converted at the sheds in Basingstoke Road.

He was shot four times - with one of the bullets piercing his heart - when gunmen mistook him for his older brother who was to be killed in revenge for another murder.

Michael's mother, Shakira, welcomed the news that the man who had supplied the gun that killed her son had been convicted.

She said: "How would he feel if his own child is killed by a gun?

"I think it's best for them to see the graves of these innocent kids that have been killed in this country as a result of their own practices."

Mohammed Sannoh, 19, from Peckham, and Abdi Omar Noor, 22, from Camberwell, south-east London, were found guilty of murdering the teenager.


Richard Holmes, 21, was shot dead in Chingford on 4 November, 2005

Jason Greene, 29, was shot through his car window in Wembley on 18 July, 2006

Antoine Smith, 24, was found dead in an alleyway in Clapham on 20 October, 2006

Jamail Newton, 19, was killed outside a nightclub in Camberwell Green on 1 November, 2006

Michael Dosunmu, 15, was shot as he slept in bed in Peckham on 6 February, 2007

Daniel Denis, 26, was killed in his car in Acron on 18 September, 2007
Robel Tewelde, 21, was found dead in a stairwell in Stockwell on 2 October, 2007

Police believe up to 40 guns converted by Wilkinson could still be on the streets and have offered a 10,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of one or more of the outstanding weapons.

Mrs Dosunmu appealed to those with information to come forward.

"I am begging them for the love of this country to please come forward and speak to the police if they are aware of any gun anywhere," she pleaded.

"You don't know who is going to be the next victim. We cannot wait until death starts knocking on everyone's doors."

During Wilkinson's trial it was heard the guns he converted had been linked to more than 50 shootings.

One of the weapons was involved when Pc Sharon Beshenivsky, 38, was shot dead outside a travel agency in Bradford on 18 November, 2005.

Police linked ammunition found at the scene to Wilkinson's operation, although it did not come from the murder weapon.

Five people have so far been convicted in connection with Pc Beshenivsky's murder.

Pc Sharon Beshenivsky
Pc Beshenivsky was killed in an armed robbery in Bradford

Det Ch Supt George Turner, who led the Thames Valley Police investigation into The Briars, said: "There is no doubt we have disrupted an organised criminal group who have been supplying large quantities of automatic weapons and ammunition into criminal networks.

"There are links to seven murders where the weapon has been these Mac-10s.

"There is also the tragic murder of Pc Sharon Beshenivsky where this wasn't the murder weapon but a Mac-10 was discharged at the scene."

The officer believes Wilkinson was clever and made sure none of the crimes committed with his converted weapons were near The Briars.

Det Ch Supt Turner added: "None of these shootings or murders occurred in the Thames Valley Police area and I think the criminals involved have been very careful not to conduct any activity in the Thames Valley so as not to draw any police attention to it."

Richard Holmes
Mr Holmes was shot over a row about rap lyrics

Another high profile case where the murder weapon has been forensically linked to The Briars was the killing of music producer Richard Holmes on 4 November, 2005.

The 21-year-old was shot dead by associates of rapper Dwayne Mahorn, known as MC Durrty Goodz, in east London, over a row about rap lyrics.

The court heard Mr Mahorn, who was cleared of manslaughter, complained the song by Mr Holmes's friend, Sabar Shah, 16, was disrespectful to him.

Killers Anthony Green, 35, of Loughton, Essex and Carl Dobson, 23, of Stratford, London, were given 30-year minimum terms at the Old Bailey.

Forensic scientists say they have still not completed their work at Wilkinson's gun factory and are likely to link more crimes to the weapons the pair created in the coming months and years.

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