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THE lead detective of murder case which saw three men jailed for a total of 75 years has told how the testimony of a woman in a witness protection programme was crucial in securing the convictions, writes Andrew McCorkell. As Gavin Grant and Gareth Downie
THE lead detective of murder case which saw three men jailed for a total of 75 years has told how the testimony of a woman in a witness protection programme was crucial in securing the convictions, writes Andrew McCorkell.
As Gavin Grant and Gareth Downie were jailed for the murder of Leon Labastide, and Damien Williams was jailed for conspiracy to murder, Detective Inspector Steve Horsley of Trident, the unit dealing with gun crime, said the case was not as complicated as it appeared.
He said: "It was to start with because you have got all the tit-for-tat shootings and another murder all together. But this case on its own was pretty simple.
"You had a burglary which they believed Leon Labastide was involved in and as a result of it they conspired and went out and shot him. It was quite simple really, but when you throw that in with all the other shootings that happened after it, it made it quite difficult.
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"As far as Brent goes overall, gun crime has gradually gone down on the borough.
"Seeing the sentences that these guys get you would hope that it will discourage anyone else from that sort of behaviour within the borough.
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"We can only hope that witnesses come forward and help us with inquires in the future.
"Luckily we had a witness who was prepared to tell us all in this case.
"She was a young 16-year-old and basically she was there when they planned and when they came back from the murder, and that was really our chief evidence.
"The murder was the result of a feud between people who were once close friends, the family of Leon have been left devastated by their loss. The conviction is the result of six years of hard work and determination by Trident officers to get justice for his family, and to make it clear to the community that, by working together, we can put a stop to this unacceptable violence.