Two men have been jailed for a total of more than 16 years for their part in a shooting in Wickford, thanks to dedicated work by detectives in our Serious Organised Crime Unit.
Thomas Connors, 24, of Merlin Crescent, Edgware, Middlesex, was jailed for a total of nine years and six months and Thomas Saunders, of Arterial Road, Rayleigh, was jailed for a total of seven years when they appeared for sentencing at Basildon Crown Court on 31 March.
On 9 September 2020, the victim had been woken up at his home in Hovefields Avenue by the sound of shots being fired. He got dressed and went to the door where he had a verbal altercation with Saunders.
After Saunders left, the man went back into his home to discover that his living room window had been shattered. Windows had also been broken in a caravan and a car on his property.
Following the execution of a search warrant at Saunders’ home the following day, a shotgun and a another two guns were recovered from a wooded area nearby. The shotgun had been stolen during a burglary in Layer-de-la-Haye eight months previously.
Following inquiries, forensic analysis carried on a car suspected to be involved linked Saunders and Cooper to the incident.
Both men were located in a car in Twickenham High Street on 19 October 2020 and were arrested by Metropolitan Police officers after a short pursuit. Connors was found to be driving on a provisional licence.
“The court has jailed both men for substantial periods of time, which shows how seriously they view these offences. “This is a fantastic result. Not only has it taken two dangerous offenders and three firearms off our streets, it demonstrates that even organised criminals and those who operate within these circles are not above the law or beyond the reach of Essex Police officers. “We certainly don’t tolerate criminals who use guns, no matter that, thankfully, no-one was injured in the incident. “That’s why we spent a good deal of time tracking down Connors and Saunders, to ensure that they were brought to justice for their crimes. And the three firearms located during our investigation will be destroyed.” Detective Sergeant Steve Robson, of our Serious Organised Crime Unit
After a trial, both defendants were found guilty by the jury and they were sentenced on 31 March.
Connors was jailed for a total of nine years and six months. For encouraging or assisting the commission of one or more offences, believing one or more would be committed, he was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was jailed for one year, to run concurrently, for criminal damage and a further six months, to run consecutively, for dangerous driving. He was also disqualified from driving for two years after his release from prison and ordered to take an extended test.
Connors was also sentenced for additional burglary offences investigated by the Metropolitan Police which were unconnected to this case, receiving a two-year jail sentence for aggravated burglary, to run consecutively, and a total of another two years for three burglaries, to run concurrently.
Saunders was jailed for a total of seven years, receiving sentences of seven years for possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and one year, to run concurrently, for a charge of criminal damage.