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Trio jailed for Leon Labastide murder in Stonebridge launch appeal bid

PUBLISHED: 17:02 27 October 2015 | UPDATED: 17:02 27 October 2015

Left to right: Gavin Grant,  Gareth Downie and Damian Martin Williams

Left to right: Gavin Grant, Gareth Downie and Damian Martin Williams

Archant

Three men, including a professional footballer, who were jailed for murdering a 21-year-old in Stonebridge have launched a bid to clear their names.

Leon Labastide was shot dead in June 2004Leon Labastide was shot dead in June 2004

Gavin Grant, 31, a former striker who played for Millwall, Wycombe Wanderers and Bradford City, Damian Martin Williams, 38, and 32-year-old Gareth Downie were all convicted for their role in the death of Leon Labastide.

The 21-year-old was shot dead on his doorstep in Mordaunt Road on the Stonebridge Estate in June in 2004.

Grant and Downie were found guilty of murder and Williams was convicted of conspiracy to murder at the Old Bailey in July 2010.

All three were sentenced to life with a minimum tariff of 25 years each.

Today at London’s Criminal Appeal Court their lawyers challenged their convictions arguing they were ‘unsafe’.

Their legal team said the jury’s verdicts were ‘undermined’ because prosecutors failed to disclose crucial evidence ahead of their trial.

The prosecution case was that Mr Labastide’s murder was one of a series of “tit-for-tat” shootings on the estate.

Judge Peter Beaumont, who sentenced the trio, said the victim had been ‘executed’.

Crown lawyers alleged Williams arranged for Grant and Downie to shoot the victim in retaliation for a burglary he was rumoured to be behind.

Grant was cleared, in 2007, of killing 22-year-old Jahmall Moore two years earlier.

But he was prosecuted for Mr Labastide’s murder in 2010 after new information came to light.

Lady Justice Macur, sitting with Mr Justice Cooke and Judge Joanna Cutts QC, said the appeal raised an ‘interesting question’ for the court.

She reserved giving judgment on the trio’s conviction challenges until a later date.

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