BY TOBY PORTER
A gang of three robbers who shot a man in the leg as he fled have been jailed for a combined total of 39 years for a string of terrifying raids. The victim was shot after being threatened with a handgun as he sat in his car.
He was robbed of his Rolex watch and two gold chains and was blasted in the leg as he tried to run away. But this incident, and the gang’s three other raids which followed, were only linked after a special investigations team was set up for firearms offences across London.
Their sting, Operation Esyia, tied together four firearm offences in Lambeth and Wandsworth between August 14 and September 3, 2016.
The firearm, believed to be a self-loading pistol, has never been recovered. But examination of ammunition recovered at the scene enabled the four offences to be linked.
The Met set up the new unit 12 months ago and the four robberies were investigated by the Active Linked Series Team after London’s forensic scientists identified the offences were linked by the same gun. The team then found other connections between the incidents which led them to the gang.
Richard Ojo, Myron Hyllam and Mamud Mansaray were convicted of the offences and jailed for 16, 18 and five years and 10 months respectively at Woolwich Crown Court following an eight-week trial.
Ojo, 25, of Stockwell Park Road, Lambeth, and Hyllam, 27, of Challice Way, Brixton, were both found guilty in October of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to rob.
Mamud Mansaray 26, of Mace Street, Tower Hamlets, pleaded guilty at Woolwich Crown Court on Monday to conspiracy to rob and was found not guilty of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life.
The first robbery, initially treated as an attempted murder, took place in Yelverton Road, Battersea – 600 yards from where Prince George now goes to school in Battersea High Street, shortly after 11pm on August 14, 2016.
The victim was approached sitting in his car, threatened with the handgun and then robbed of his Rolex watch and two gold chains. He then tried to run away but was shot in the leg. Detectives later recovered the Rolex watch during a search of Ojo’s home on March 10, 2017.
The two gold chains were recovered from Mansaray’s car on March 22, 2017, after his arrest. A vehicle imagery specialist, who viewed the CCTV footage of the incident, said the vehicles used by the offenders were a Mitsubishi Outlander and a Ford Mondeo. He also concluded that marks and damage found on a Mondeo linked to Mansaray were consistent with those seen on the Mondeo captured on the CCTV.
Hyllam, Mansaray and Ojo were stopped by police in a silver Mitsubishi Outlander a few days before the shooting in Yelverton Road. Mansaray was also linked to a Mondeo.
Analysis of their mobile phone records also linked the three men to the offence.
The same handgun was then discharged in Robertson Street in Wandsworth on August 17, 2016.
Police had been called out shortly before 3am after reports of shots being fired. But there was no trace of any victims or suspects. CCTV footage of the incident captured three cars in convoy at the scene. Two figures are seen getting out of one car before running towards Robertson Street. They returned shortly afterwards and left in the same car.
CCTV evidence, forensic analysis of ammunition at the scene and analysis of mobile phone records, implicated Ojo and Hyllam in the incident.
Another shooting, which was forensically linked to the same weapon, took place in the Springhill estate in Lambeth shortly after 9pm on August 22, 2016.
Two witnesses in a car turning into the estate off Larkhall Rise, saw a man fire three shots. Police never discovered whether the gun had been aimed at a person.
Forensic evidence showed that the same firearm had been used.
The last incident in the series was a shooting on September 3, 2016, outside Leys Court in Brixton Road, Lambeth. CCTV footage showed the intended victim ran away, but he has never been identified.
Detective Inspector Edward Facer, of the Met’s Trident and Area Crime Command, said: “The arrests and convictions of these men are the result of a year-long investigation that involved in-depth analysis of the four incidents, phone records, CCTV and forensic examination of ammunition found at the four scenes of crime.
“This investigation demonstrates how we are able to prosecute those responsible for firearms offences, even if there are no witnesses to a shooting.
“The lengthy sentences handed to these defendants should send out a message that gun crime will not be tolerated and we will relentlessly pursue anyone involved in firearms offences.”
Detective Superintendent Mike Balcombe, of the Met’s Trident and Area Crime Command, said: “The Active Series Linked Team was set up with the intention of prosecuting those responsible for multiple firearms offences.
“Through outstanding police work and expert forensic analysis, three men responsible for a series of firearms offences have been taken off the streets of London.”