Three men have been found guilty of rioting, reckless arson and firearms possession after police were ‘lured’ to a pub fire and shot at during last summerâ€™s riots.
Tyrone Laidley, 20, of Nechells, Birmingham, Nicholas Francis, 26, of Great Barr, Birmingham, and Renardo Farrell, 20, of Finchfield, Wolverhampton, were convicted by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court today, West Midlands Police said.
Jurors in the six-week trial were shown CCTV footage of a gunman – said by the prosecution to be Laidley – firing at a police helicopter as it tracked suspects during disturbances in Birmingham in the early hours of August 10.
An armed mob in Birmingham ‘lured’ police on to the streets by firebombing a pub so they could attack them during last summer’s riots, the court heard. Three men have now been convicted
Prosecutor Andrew Lockhart QC said the aircraft came under attack minutes after at least 12 shots were fired at officers called to a petrol bomb attack at the Bartons Arms in Aston.
Police were initially pelted with bricks, steel tubes and furniture before the shots were fired, the court heard.
Mr Lockhart told the court: ‘As many as four guns were present. Scientific evidence confirms that.
‘Some of the officers describe bricks and chairs being thrown at them in that initial incident. Then they heard shots begin to ring out.’
Prosecutor Andrew Lockhart QC said that, after getting into formation, officers heard gunshots and were forced to take cover before being given the order to retreat for their own safety
Earlier in the trial, Mr Lockhart said that, after getting into formation, officers heard gunshots and were forced to take cover before being given the order to retreat for their own safety.
The court heard police realised they were being shot at when they heard the windows of the building behind them being smashed by the gun fire.
Mr Lockhart said: ‘These were not imitation firearms with blank ammunition, these were bullets and they were going into the building behind them.
‘Those weapons, or some of them, had been aimed at those officers and the bullets went over their heads and impacted with that building.’
The court was shown CCTV of a large group of men fleeing from police, with two men at the rear of appearing to take aim and fire at officers.
The Crown alleges that the officers had been lured into the area by the pre-planned arson attack.
The jury is still considering its verdicts for four other defendants in the case – Jermaine Lewis, 27, of Oldbury, West Midlands; Wayne Collins, 25, of Luton, Bedfordshire; and two teenagers who cannot be named.
They are all charged with riot, arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
An eighth defendant, Joyah Campbell, 19, of Aston, Birmingham, was acquitted of the same charges.
The trial continues.
Three found guilty of shooting at police after ‘luring’ them to scene of firebombed pub