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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 14:52 GMT
New Year shootings trial: key figures

The jury heard that the guilty men were members of the Burger Bar gang, apart from Jermaine Carty, who was acquitted of a weapons offence. He is said to have been a Johnson Crew gang member.

Nathan Martin - has the street name "23"

Nathan Martin

Martin was the eldest of those tried, at 26, and is from Smethwick.

His street name came from his prison number 23.

The prosecution claimed the shooting was a reprisal for the murder of Martin's brother Yohanne, shot dead a month before the Aston murders by a gang linked to the Johnson Crew.

Martin admitted he had gone to Northampton to help pick up the red Mondeo used in the shooting.

His car had been tracked going down the motorway using automatic number plate recognition and his mobile phone was logged making calls in the same locations.

He was involved in a music promotion business with his brother.

The prosecution told the jury that Martin had probably grabbed the machine gun from Marcus Ellis and let fly with it.

Michael Gregory - has the street name "Chunks"

Michael Gregory
Gregory is 23-years-old and from Ladywood, Birmingham.

The prosecution described him as the "co-ordinator".

The owner of phone 819 which was described in court as at the "centre of the events, at the heart of them".

Gregory had no previous convictions and was supposed to have been setting up a car valeting business in the months leading up to the shooting.

His sister was Yohanne Martin's partner and the mother of his child.

Marcus Ellis - has the street name "E-man"

Marcus Ellis
Ellis is 24-years-old, from Winson Green, Birmingham.

Some people living in Aston claim he was known to be a "shooter".

The prosecution told the jury he was a member of the Burger Bar Boys and was in the red Mondeo used in the drive-by shooting.

His 18-year-old half sister, Charlene died in the attack.

Despite sharing a father with Charlene, Arthur Ellis, the jury was told they were not close.

Ellis was part of a gang of youths involved in the killing of Christopher Clarke at Fozzies nightclub in Birmingham in 2000.

He was due to stand trial for murder along with three others, but that charge was dropped and instead he pleaded guilty to violent disorder.

Mr Clarke was stabbed to death and had also been beaten with champagne bottles.

The judge at Nottingham Crown Court sentenced Ellis to three years in a young offenders' institution.

Rodrigo Simms - has the street names "Sonny" and "SS"

Rodrigo Simms
Simms, aged 20 from Smethwick, was the youngest in the dock.

He was supposed to have acted as a spotter guiding the car into the target outside the Unisevern hair salon, where the party was held.

He argued that his sister Selina Simms, the salon owner was there and he would not have risked the life of a family member.

Tafarwa Beckford

Mr Beckford, aged 22, from Ladywood, Birmingham, was acquitted on the orders of the judge.

He was shot in the head after news leaked out that he had been interviewed by the police in connection with the Aston shootings.

Jamelia, the award-winning pop star, is his stepsister.

It can now be reported that her half-brother, and his brother, Kairo Beckford, were jailed in November for 18 years for the murder of Daniel Bogle.

Mr Bogle, 19, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Smethwick in August 2003.

He was not a gang member and had no convictions.

Jermaine Carty - Has the street name "Wooligan" or "Wooly"

The sixth man in the dock was Jermaine Carty, 24, of Cheyne Walk in Handsworth, Birmingham.

Carty was acquitted on the orders of the judge of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, and by the jury of one charge of possessing a firearm.

He was said to have been the real target for the gunmen that night.

The jury heard Carty had taunted Ellis on stage at the Rosie O'Brien's club in Solihull, West Midlands, the night before the shootings.

Mr Carty was said to have grabbed a microphone to lay down a challenge to Ellis and his friends.

Timothy Raggatt QC, prosecuting, said: "He was engaging in what amounted to taunting provocation directed at the Burger Bar group, boasting about the Johnsons and so on."

Mr Carty also made it clear he was carrying a handgun in the club, Mr Raggatt said.

Yohanne Martin - had the street name "13"

Yohanne Martin
The fatal shooting of Nathan Martin's 24-year-old brother Yohanne in West Bromwich on 6 December 2002 was part of the inter-gang rivalry that led to the girls being killed, the court heard.

Mr Raggatt said the men in the car outside the hairdresser's were all members of the Burger Bar gang who were trying to shoot members of another gang called The Johnson Crew, who they held responsible for the murder of Yohanne Martin.




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