Saturday, May 05, 2007

How the British police protect you from gun crime

They systematically ignore most complaints -- and people die helplessly

A teenage gunman was jailed for 25 years yesterday for shooting a young father who had been subjected to a campaign of violence and threats after confronting local thugs. Bradley Tucker, 18, aimed eight shots at Peter Woodhams, a 22-year-old satellite television repairman, and left him bleeding to death in front of his fiancée, Jane Bowden, and their three-year-old son Sam.

Mr Woodhams died in a final confrontation with Tucker and a gang of youths close to his home in Custom House, East London, last August. Seven months earlier he was stabbed in the neck, and slashed across the face after confronting teenagers who had thrown stones at his car.

Nine officers now face a misconduct inquiry into allegations that they failed to investigate the assault. Miss Bowden called the police every day for five weeks after the stabbing but officers did not take a statement and youngsters regularly taunted the family.

Sentencing Tucker, who was convicted in March, the Recorder of London, Judge Peter Beaumont, QC, ordered that he should not be released until he has served a minimum of 25 years. The judge told Tucker: “There are in my judgment no mitigating matters. You were not provoked in any legal or real sense to do what you did. “You perceived disrespect. You feared the loss of face in a challenge that you perceived from the man you killed, a challenge to the standing that you felt you had in the eyes of those around you.”

Ms Bowden, 24, was in tears as she left court. In a statement to the court on the impact of the murder she said her son was convinced his father was a star in heaven and looked up at the sky, saying: “Look, there is daddy looking down on me.”

Outside the Old Bailey the dead man’s father, Peter Woodhams, said: “We have got to bring out to the public that parents need to be responsible for their children." He said his family were “contented” to know that for 25 years Tucker would not be able to inflict what he had done to them on anyone else.

Tucker, from Canning Town, East London, left school at 13 with no qualifications and was thrown out of the family home when he was convicted of dangerous driving at the age of 16. In January last year Mr Woodhams was driving past a group of shops when a gang of teenagers pelted his car with stones. When he stopped, one of the youths grabbed hold of him while a boy said to answer the description of Tucker shouted: “Hold him, hold him. I’m going to do him.” He pulled out a knife and slashed Mr Woodhams’s face before stabbing him in the neck, narrowly missing his jugular vein.

In August Mr Woodhams was driving home when he saw Tucker hanging around near his home smoking cannabis with other youths. Mr Woodhams chased the youths away and went home as Tucker shouted: “F***ing tosser, if he wants it he can have it. If he comes back round he will get it. I will have him”. Tucker armed himself with a pistol, put his hood up and sprinted towards Mr Woodhams, who had left his house to confront him. The teenager’s shots penetrated Mr Woodhams’s chest, piercing the heart and both lungs and causing massive blood loss.

Tucker ran away from the scene but later gave himself up to police. He was captured on CCTV wearing a distinctive high-visibility jacket he had put on while working at a construction site in Shadwell earlier that day. Tucker admitted pulling the trigger and pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murder, claiming he thought the gun fired blanks. He said that a 14-year-old friend supplied him with the gun but was told: “It just makes a bang”. A 17-year-old said to have acted as his lookout was cleared.


Arkansas: Shots fired at armed midnight intruder: "Responding to a call for help around midnight, the parents of Rebecca Little of 150 County Line Road arrived to see a man armed with a shotgun fleeing from the residence. When told to stop, the man reportedly turned and pointed the shotgun at the parents, and a shot was fired at him in return before he fled into a wooded area. Sgt. Mike Price with the Independence County Sheriff's Office said Little told him that she was awakened by someone knocking and then pounding on her door around midnight. Unable to see anyone outside, Little said she called her mother and step-father, Tony and Debbie Mesa, to come to her house. "When they arrived they saw a white man, approximately 18 to 25 years old in a white T-shirt and jeans with short blond hair, run from the area of the house near the master bedroom into the backyard," Price said. "The suspect was carrying a shotgun with a black synthetic stock. Mr. Mesa yelled for the suspect to stop and at that time the suspect turned around to face Mr. Mesa in a threatening manner. Mr. Mesa stated he then fired his pistol at the suspect, but didn't' believe he had struck the suspect," Price said."

NC woman cleared in shooting of husband: "The Cleveland County district attorney on Thursday dismissed a murder charge against a woman accused of fatally shooting her husband. Tina Weaver acted in self-defense when she shot Ronald Todd Weaver, 41, at their Kings Mountain home on Nov. 25, court documents said. "The dismissal completely exonerates my client from any criminal wrongdoing," said Weaver's attorney, David Teddy. There was a history of domestic violence between the couple, court documents said, and Weaver's husband had severely beaten her just before the shooting. Weaver, 40, has been out on $40,000 bond since November. Weaver, a mother of three, is relieved that the charge has been dropped, Teddy said. "This has been a heavy burden she's been carrying since November," Teddy said." [Not as heavy as the dead guy's, though]

No comments: