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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2006, 16:43 GMT
Police shooting survivors jailed
Azelle Rodney
Azelle Rodney was shot in April during a police operation
Two men who saw their friend shot dead by a police marksmen have been jailed for drugs and firearms offences.

Wesley Lovell, 26, and Frank Graham, 24, were in the car in Edgware, north-west London when Azelle Rodney was shot dead on the back seat.

They were sentenced to seven years and six years respectively at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court on Tuesday.

The court heard three guns were found in the car and Lovell's flat was being used to produce crack cocaine.

Graham and Mr Rodney had been under surveillance for two days and had been tailed in the car for several hours in April 2005, the court heard.

They were seen driving to the flat, in Hammersmith, west London, three hours before the shooting, and left before meeting Lovell.

Crack cocaine 'factory'

Prosecutor Samantha Cohen said: "They were again followed by police and at about 7.40 a decision was made to stop the Volkswagen Golf they were in proceeding any further.

"That operation involved armed officers, and Rodney, who was in the back seat of his car, was shot in the course of that stop. He died."

Three guns and ammunition were found in the car, and a search of the flat showed it had been used to produce crack cocaine "in significant quantities", she added.

Police forensics
Mr Rodney's death is still under investigation

Lovell said he had allowed Mr Rodney to use the flat to cancel out a drugs debt, the court heard.

Lovell admitted possessing a loaded handgun and allowing his home to be used for drug production while Graham admitted having the pistol and ammunition.

But Judge Simon Smith told them: "I have no doubt whatever that you were engaged in some major criminal activity.

"I must take the view that Parliament intended, not surprisingly, that persons who are out with guns in the way you were will have to have longer sentences even on a plea of guilty."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is still investigating Mr Rodney's death.


SEE ALSO:
Policeman moved after gun death
01 May 05 |  London


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