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[Music] tommy lau is philosopher considering that he knows he will never walk again his life was wrecked one november evening in 2001. tommy was at a house in a quiet hamlet of easton i was on the phone to his wife of just eight weeks who was preparing to make her way over to england from south america halfway through their conversation he heard the sharp crack of glass shattering in fact a sensation like a burning poker down his back as he turned to look over his shoulder he could see small wisps of smoke as if it was on fire boy forks knock had just been a few days earlier and he thought he had been hit by a firework it was all a dream in slow motion tommy recalled when i fell to the ground i could see my friends coming up to me and saying stuff but i didn’t know what was going on at first i thought someone had thrown a firework through the window especially when i saw the smoke coming out the back but then it dawned on me what it was and i was apparently screaming but i don’t remember too much of that the gunman had fired through the living room window as he withered with pain he found that he couldn’t feel various parts of his body and finally realized he had been shot he was paralyzed from the waist down from that moment on tommy had nothing to do with gangs drug dealing or crime he was just 23 when he became a mistaken assassination target at 5 20 p.m on the 8th of november he was nearing the end of a degree course in fashion at nottingham trent university he had a new wife and he was head over heels in love police who ruled tommy out as a target early in their investigation had some obvious leads straight away the woman in whose home he had been shot was a mistress of a local drug baron she was having an affair with a young man who we should call laurie for this story and according to the police he was the intended target there was clearly a motive if one accepts that the drug baron at the time on remand in strange way prison in manchester awaiting trial for a cigarette smuggling and heroin conspiracy had sent the gunman and from the outset the police certainly found that he was their prime suspect however as time moved on the less likely it seemed that to most of those who knew anything about the case that he had anything to do with it laurie had done a lot of work for the gun brothers at the time and it was possible that colin may have became upset about something he had done or owed them the gunman who made his getaway on a motorcross bike has never been caught and the people who hired him have never been identified that more than anything else occupies tommy’s thoughts every day he moors it over in his mind trying to make the connections trying to make some sense of why he ended up in a wheelchair the police say they are still working diligently to identify the shooter but as each year passes it looks increasingly unlikely that tommy will ever get closure on the case in all probability he will never get to see anyone in the dock for the shooting though he remains optimistic that someone will tell him what it was all about there has been very little information from the public to give clue to the mystery it is often the way that if a case has not been sold relatively quickly any leads start to peter out into nothing tommy feels let down by the police and with good reason it was left to him to organize an appeal on the bbc’s crime watch program in 2005 and even then the program almost disguised where the shooting had taken place such as was nottinghamshire police’s paranoia about encouraging another gun crime tag in the city’s reputation tommy is getting on with his life as best as he can he had to give up his college course after spending six months in a hospital bed and cannot work but he goes to the gym regularly for weight training and to burn off the steam that builds up in his frustration about being in this situation he does still try to live life to the full he just wishes he could put the nightmares to bed it’s hard to believe today that in 1990 nottingham was voted the most desirable place to live in the uk that same year the independent dispatched writer willian leaf to find out about the city the comments prove interesting when you read with the passage of time mr leaf asked a number of residents what they like the most it’s a great place to live said phil a well-dressed engineer helen a young housewife recently moved from london was bowled over too there’s no need to worry about bringing up your children here it’s so much safer mr leaf himself wrote the nightclubs are friendly and fight free because each one has a rigorous door policy you can only go in if you’re dressed exactly like everyone else in the nightclub at 2am punters from rock city with short hair and flares stand chatting in a group ignoring the heavy metal tribe steaming out of new york new york in long hair and drain pipes policemen wonder about grinning it doesn’t seem quite real it seemed like a very different place nearly two decades ago someone who lived in nottingham since 1995 said no matter what the crime figures say there has been a plausible change in the atmosphere of the city in the darkness of the night it became colder more cynical and more unfriendly in the city center there is a brooding menacing air outside the bars late on a friday night where once there was just exuberance new community support officers are now stationed in the center which they say is to make people feel safer but as the public and criminals alike are well aware they have no powers of arrest the home office is effectively placing these volunteers in potentially hazardous situations without the powers or authority of regular police officers but had the audacity to place them in the police style uniforms in the 1990s the city was still seen as a quaint yet vibrant capital in the middle of england if there were three legends which outsiders always connected to nottingham city they were robin hood brian clow and the myth that there was three women to every man who existed in the city only one of the legends was true now the city had a fourth legend crime the city has been desperately trying to shrug off the label of the crying capital of the uk or more often than not schottenger the gun crime capital of the uk since 2002. it’s very difficult to get away from this label the impact that the gun crime tag has had on the city’s image cannot be overstated it has affected all walks of life from employers struggling to get credible candidates to job interviews to two universities in 2002 alone nottingham and trent suffered a 14 drop in applications from students investors stayed away tourists stayed away even the crown green balls team which had toured from kent to nottingham every year for more than a decade stayed away a few weeks earlier the british ambassador to saudi arabia made a reference to the city’s crime problems at a function which landed on the front page of the times newspaper sir sherwood copper coles told an audience of several hundred people in the eastern saudi city of kobar an antidote about a british expat working in nottingham the businessman said he felt completely ridiculous having to give the british businessmen from nottingham assurances about the security here in saudi arabia when nottingham is the murder capital of the uk at the moment he said it’s far more dangerous statistically to be in nottingham than to be in al-khabar daman the first indications of a massively negative media portrayal of nottingham came in 2002 when the headline writers in london began their assault on the city although the headline which probably did the most harm was assassination city that came from the daily star in 2004 but while before then the writing was on the wall not least because of the high profile murders of the jewelry shop owner and the grandmother marion bates and the school girl danielle beacon but it was 2002 when things got really out of control in that year alone there were more shootings than the previous seven years put altogether and many of them were connected to the best wood cartel when the number of shootings first began to rise dramatically in late 1999 nottinghamshire police unveiled their response operation real estate it began in february 2000 after a spat of gang-related shootings in saiyans and the meadows and led to armed officers routinely patrolling the streets of the uk and city mainland for the first time this in turn led to a national debate about whether police should be armed at all times for then assistant chief constable sean price he was in charge of the operation was keen to play down any conclusions that the police’s response was an exaggerated one there is nothing exceptional in what we are doing here he said this is not a genghis khan approach we are only doing what the police have always done deploying the level of force appropriate to the threat he admitted that the violence involving the gangs in the ng triangle had prompted to move we had a situation where because of disputes between these rival groups of criminals shootings were happening for two years six armed officers carrying walter p 990 pistols at their hips worked in pairs between dust till midnight around the saint anne’s and meadows estates in the first six months six shootings were recorded on the estates compared to six in a fortnight just before real estate was launched the police also made some 150 arrests connected to the gang violence and recovered 15 firearms in the first year but the community leaders felt that the use of armed officers stigmatized the areas and encouraged the gangs to go underground we are being used as a laboratory for a bigger experiment said dalroy brown community leader of the afro-caribbean national artistic center in st anne’s by november 2001 operation real estate had made 400 arrests and forted a number of assassination attempts more than 100 firearms had been recovered and 47 jamaican nationals were among those arrested for attempted murder firearms and drug offences of those who were arrested the jamaican authorities wanted to speak to 41 in connection with serious criminal offences in jamaica nevertheless gun crime overall continued to escalate in 2001 police in nottinghamshire dealt with 685 firearm incidences back in 1990 the year it was voted the most desirable city to live in the figure had just been 282 by the beginning of 2002 police had decided a new approach was needed and in july 2002 set up a project which would be intelligent lead and tackle gun crime across the city operation stealth would be more protective than real estate its remit was to stamp out the black on black shootings by arresting offenders with firearms before they committed serious offences but before the stealth team had gotten stuck into their task there was another brutal shooting at around 7pm on the 19th of february 2002 a young black teenager brendan lawrence was waiting in his friend’s ford fiesta xr2 near his home in watkins streets on the saint anne’s estate he had been pouring with rain and brendan had accepted the offer of a lift from his friend who had nipped inside the house on watkins street minutes later a man in a dark blue hooded dunny top wearing knight bohemian trainers approached the car pulled out a gun and told brendan to get out he then shot him twice in the leg pulled him out the car and shot him again in the chest the 16 year old had died on the street his mother janiece collins would become a toilet campaigner for mothers against guns a group set up to try and stamp out gun crime we buried him in black jeans and a black polo neck top he had brought from next that we she later told reporters his friends were pallbearers and they looked like they were so young they were only kids when brendan died they kept him for eight weeks in the mortuary i couldn’t bear to think of him so cold like that i hated it that we couldn’t bury him every week calvin his twin brother would take me down there to see him and they would pull him out cold so that i could see him and see that he was all right no mother should have to go through that someone must know something brendon was not known to be involved in criminality but intelligence came through to the police that half a kilo of cocaine had been stashed under one of the car seats which indicated a robbery motive as the drugs were missing the killers who had clearly had information that there was a substantial amount of drugs in the car had driven off in the ford fiesta xr2 which was later found burnt out at westfield gardens in st hans some dna was extracted from the particularly burnt pack wreckage but very little headway was made by the police in terms of getting witnesses to come forward and so it dragged on year after year despite there being a twenty thousand pound reward for information leading to the conviction every february brendan’s distraught parents janice collins and ray lawrence have made an annual appeal for information which they hope will lead to the identification of the killer in the years that passed since brendan’s death police arrested more than 20 suspects but without any breakthrough in july 2009 two defenders went on trial for his murder and a third for assisting the offender the jury acquitted one defender of murder but failed to reach a verdict on the other two a retrial was rescheduled a list of some of the incidents police were called out to in july 2002 showed how indiscriminate the use of firearms was becoming on july the 1st ten-year-old laurel akin warner is shot and wounded at his grandmother’s home in wilford on july the 5th a would-be robber walks into a news agent in old bassfoot and asks for cigarettes and then fires a shot from a handgun narrowly missing the 57 year old store owner behind the counter on july 9 a taxi driver who picks up two men outside the commodore pub in natal road at 6 20 am is robbed with a handgun to his head and is forced to drive to men to brockhurst’s gardens and say hands the taxi driver later tells the local paper i served in the gulf war but left the army for a quieter life it’s not really turned out how i imagined on july the 16th a two-year-old boy shot in the right arm of an airgun pellet as he plays in the copman hey park off beauvel drive in kotame at 6 pm surgeons were able to remove the pellet on july the 17th two robbers enter the unlocked house in knoll street forest fields and hold up a 37 year old woman and her young child at gunpoint in their own living room on july the 22nd an armed robber shoves a handgun into the faces of two staff in a raid on mansfield road spa in sherwood at around 12 20 am witnesses then reported hearing a gunshot as the raiders run from the store with the takings on july the 26th a 33 year old man is shot and wounded outside the drum nightclub off elkston road in lenten on july 29th a young couple from long eaton are attacked by three men wielding a gun and a knife after they spot them acting suspiciously the man a 23 year old sales manager has a gun pressed to his forehead and his teeth smashed in with the butt of the pistol he is told this is what you get for interfering analysis by operation staff in the central city area revealed the following around 73 of the shooters were black and british born educationally they were almost always underachievers living in areas where there were limited employment opportunities the majority were from single parent families they were territorially protective and their role models were drawn from the gangster rap with lots of bling or jewellery designer labels on clothes cash in pocket firearm in one hand and dahl in the other hand their career paths were firmly rooted in criminality and particularly drug dealing progressing from street runner age of 12 11 or sometimes even younger their job would be to deliver small amounts of drugs sometimes on push bikes sometimes on foot between people and addresses for this they will be given a few pounds or perhaps a rock of crack or a wrap of heroin to sell for themselves by the time they were 13 or 14 they might be babysitting a firearm for one of the bread room or a larger amount of drugs at their home and by the time they arrived in their late teens they might be street dealing themselves or have a pack of runners working for them just that they had done themselves other black on black shootings demonstrated the cheapness of with which life was perceived by those living in the ghetto on the 9th of november 2002 33 year old teresa jacobs a female crack cocaine dealer was shot in the back of the head outside the drum nightclub off ilkscon road jamaican national aston bola faced trial over her murder but the case collapsed when the cps offered no evidence for mr bola was actually deported almost a year later at 1pm on the 7th of november 2003 24 year old father of two omar watson walked into his local barbershop to have his haircut but almost as soon as he sat on the chair a gunman walked in and shot him dead it was believed his killer had lookouts who had phoned to say he was on his way to the hairdresser shortly before the murder on a cold february morning a young man waits in a telephone box on the saint hans estate to hear from his dealer it’s a phone box while used for this purpose the manvo is disturbed by a youth banging on the glass bit outside he says something gradually the man can make out his words hey mate mate what do you want rock or brown i can do you anything to you says nodding knowingly the man has not seen the youth before and is intrigued enough to abandon the weight for his dealer’s call he steps out of the kiosk to talk to the 13 year old soon he learns what he can buy from the youngster heroine crack cocaine and weed the teenager gives him his street name pointing to an emblem sewn on his jacket yeah that’s me so just ask for abc he gives the man a mobile phone number to call and within a few days a drug deal is arranged the next time the man sees the youth is to arrest him he is an undercover police officer when the youth is searched he has almost 1 000 pounds of drugs on him including 94 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine abc’s tale is a familiar one he has been smoking cannabis from the age of 12 buying it on his way home from school as he walked through the stands estate pretty soon he was starting to buy it on tick or credit he had built up a debt he could not pay off and the dealers began to threaten him he told them he could settle it by selling some of their drugs within a few months he was pushing crack and heroin the courts do a deal with abc he is given an anti-social behavior order which bans him from being on the saint anne’s area but for every abc there are now thousands of others doing the exact same thing on built up area estates of the uk cities operation stealth proved to be hugely successful in its first two years particularly given that it had limited resources it was set up in much the same way as that better known operation trident which had been set up by the metropolitan police four years earlier to tackle black on black crime in the city stealth had a team of about 30 officers compared to around 300 at trident yet between july 2002 and october 2004 the stealth team seized 306 firearms compared to 333 by trident and 6100 rounds of ammunition compared to one thousand two hundred by trident the stealth team also secured 263 convictions over a two-year period compared with fewer than 200 by trident while the success rates were something to be proud of the intelligence coming through was worrying there seemed to be an easy access to firearms particularly replicas which could be bought across the counter these replicas could with a bit of engineering know how easily be converted into a fire like ammunition the team was also discovering that these firearms were going into the hands of younger and younger offenders they were becoming fashion accessories for one of the gangsters and some were as young as 13. the stealth team could have helped further if the government had been braver with the new legislation a minimum five-year prison sentence for possession of a firearm was brought in during january 2003 it would do little to curb the youngsters taste for firearms even after some of those close to the victims saw the impact that guns were having on lives a minimum 10 year sentence would have been a far better deterrent in the eyes of many police officers in the early hours of new year’s day 2003 one of colin gunn’s enforcers was involved in a reckless shooting incident [Music] which almost claimed the lives of three people he turned up at a party being held at a house in jebra walk in st hans and within a short space of time had been dissed by some of the partygoers who took the mickey out of him over something the man was known to have a short fuse but no one could have predicted what he did next he pulled out a handgun and fired five times at a number of the party guests leaving two withering on the floor with injuries to their legs and groin the man fled nine days later darren hayden aged 38 was picked up by officers from operation stealth as he drove down vernon road highbury vale in basford at 1pm on the 10th of january in his red ford mondeo mr hayden who lived near the guns mother on raymed drive had convictions for armed robbery and burglary and had recently returned from tenerife police searching his car found a two ounce bag of crack hurricane and one ounce of heroin worth four thousand pounds along with a nine millimeter semi-automatic handgun and any mission mr hayden was charged with three counts of attempted murder at the party a third person had been shot but not hit along with possession of a firearm ammunition and a controlled class a drew but as police attempted to get any witness statements from anyone who was shot at the party the message came back no one wants to talk about it anymore we just want to get on with our lives by june 2003 the cps had dropped the attempted murder charges against mr hayden he then changed his plea to guilty on the firearms and drugs offences and was jailed for seven years in october 2003 aggrieved kate carty the chief crown prosecutor in the nottinghamshire area said the cps decided that there was sufficient evidence to proceed with the three counts of attempted murder the mata then progressed as far as it could in the crown court until notification was received that key prosecution witnesses had changed their mind about giving evidence in court disappointingly other witnesses gave further statements that were odds with the previously stated positions we reviewed the case and concluded that its success was dependent on the willingness of the witnesses to attend court in these circumstances it was agreed that no further progress could be made on the three counts of attempted murder we believe that unless victims and witnesses are prepared to report crimes and give evidence confidently and effectively in court the public cannot be protected properly despite this disappointment in june 2004 the operations style team was celebrating success when nine saint anne’s gangbangers were taken off the streets for life after killing a man in sheffield the victim was another tragic case of mistaken identity some of the gang were in sheffield’s meadow hall shopping center when they were ambushed outside the takeaway and robbed of their mobile phones on the 18th of december 2002 the gang had returned for revenge in a convoy of four cars they pulled up outside the afro caribbean club in the still cities pittsburgh area believing that the people who had robbed them earlier were there and fired two shots from the lead car an innocent bysander gerald smith aged 42 was fatally wounded in the head and leg ezra taylor 26 of collision street radford craig brooks who was 26 of lorne walk in st anne’s roger gordon who was 28 of hunger hill road saiyans gareth lindsay who was 20 of pearly fork drive in carlton richard powell who was 26 of ansbury circus cinderhill leon bryan who was 20 of limber gardens in saitans gordon macpherson who was 26 of kurzen gardens in saitans dean pinnock who was 20 of melville gardens in st hands and christopher mackenzie who was 20 of melville gardens in saitans all received life sentences at sheffield crown court in july of 2004 it was the first time that a group had been convicted of murder where no one except the killers knew had fired the fatal shots this conviction gets right to the heart of all the violent drug and gun crime in saint anne’s said the superintendent nick holmes deputy commander of the nottinghamshire police city division it smashes its infrastructure the gang calls misery to all people of nottingham and they have been well known to us for years we have put a massive effort into tackling drug and gun crime in anne’s and all over the city and are starting to see the results the level of urban terrorism being visited upon these communities was becoming shocking and while stealth concentrated on black and black gun crime in the city center another wave of violence was about to come all eyes would be soon turning to the north of the city where a ferocious white gang held a tight grip over the community

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