Two men who fired a sawn-off shotgun at the window of a Rugby house, in what was believed to have been a conflict over drug-dealing in the town, have both been jailed.
But they were given different types of prison sentences after being convicted of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence following a trial at Warwick Crown Court.
Glenroy Blackstock and Damion Rea, who were cleared of a more serious charge of having the shotgun with intent to endanger life, were sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court, where the judge who heard the trial is now sitting.
Judge Peter Cooke classed Blackstock as a ‘dangerous offender’ after hearing that his previous offences included a ‘troubling’ conviction for manslaughter.
So Blackstock (31) of Newland Street, Rugby, was given an extended eight-year sentence, of which he will have to serve at least two-thirds – and he will then only be freed before serving the whole term if the Parole Board considers it safe to do so.
He will then be on licence for the rest of the period and for an additional two years, during which he can be recalled to prison if his behaviour gives cause for concern.
Although it was Rea (24) of Grosvenor Road, Rugby, who actually fired the weapon, the judge said he did not consider him to be dangerous, and jailed him for seven years, of which he will serve half.
During the trial prosecutor Andrew Wilkins said: “This is about the firing of a shotgun on the evening of the 29th of November 2017 at the window of a house in Oxford Street in Rugby.
“The tenant is not somebody from whom we are going to be hearing evidence. His neighbour believed him to be dealing in drugs, and you may think that that neighbour was entirely right.
“What we do know is that there were two shots. The police attended and took some photographs. There were pellets and wadding from one of the shots, some inside the address and some outside.
“It seems it was likely to be something to do with drugs, and Blackstock was to tell the police he was aware those inside had something to do with drugs.”
So did he, and although the jury were not told during the trial, he had admitted possessing heroin and crack cocaine two days after the shotgun incident with intent to supply them.
At the time he was wearing an electronic tag to monitor his movements, and it showed he had gone to Oxford Street at about 5pm, and had then gone home before making a phone call to Rea.
Blackstock then picked Rea up from his home, and they then went back to the Oxford Street house where the shots were fired at about 7.20 before they left at 7.24.
The tag then showed he then went to a picnic site in Newton village where, although it was closed at that time of day, he spent two minutes and then went home, stopping on the way in St Andrews Crescent, where Rea was living at the time.
The police visited the picnic site and found a sawn-off over-and-under double-barrel shotgun in bushes near the entrance, wrapped in bin bags – one of which had Rea’s fingerprint on it.
The shotgun, which had both the barrel and the stock shortened, had been broken down into its three sections.
“The prosecution say it’s a weapon that has no legitimate use. It has been made into a tool for crime, and the prosecution say not just for crime, but for hurting people.”
Blackstock was arrested two days later, and claimed he had been in Oxford Street and had heard the shots, but that it was just a coincidence he had then gone to the picnic area.
Rea, who was arrested in January, denied having been at either place on that night, and suggested someone might have taken the bag from his home – but during the trial he accepted it was he who had fired the sawn-off shotgun.
Both men claimed that after going there unarmed to threaten them, one of the people in the house had produced the sawn-off shotgun, which was dropped as they scuffled with him.
Rea said he had picked it up, and that as they left the house had turned and fired it to scare the occupants to prevent them giving chase, he claimed.
But the jury rejected their story, having been told by Judge Cooke that they could only convict Blackstock if they were satisfied he and Rea went to the house armed with the shotgun.
Sentencing the two men, Judge Cooke said although it was Rea who fired the shotgun, his conclusion was that he had been recruited by Blackstock, and that it was Blackstock’s enterprise.
He had heard that Blackstock’s manslaughter conviction had followed an incident in 2011 when an attempt to rob father-of two Ali Jawaid as he made a delivery to a Coventry mobile phone shop went wrong.
Mr Jawaid, from Birmingham, died after being set upon by Blackstock and another man who struck him over the head with a metal bar.
Blackstock was subsequently jailed for eight years after pleading guilty to robbery and manslaughter.
Rea also had convictions for offences which included violence, and both men had admitted possessing the shotgun while prohibited because of prison sentences they had served.