TWO men who carried out a doorstep shooting on a rival in a drug dispute have each been jailed for 22 years.
A trial heard surgeons were amazed to discover how a bullet fired at victim Stephen Chisholm fragmented upon impact with his body but did not cause damage to major organs.
A semi-automatic pistol was used to fire two shots at Mr Chisholm from a car in Francis Street, Chapeltown, Leeds, on November 24, last year.
Andrew Browne, 33, and John Normanton, 33, were both found guilty of attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
A jury of six men and six women took more than ten hours to reach the verdicts yesterday after a retrial at Leeds Crown Court.
After the hearing, Det Chief Insp Jon Morgan, of West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “These men are clearly very dangerous individuals who shot Stephen Chisholm at close range in an attempt to kill him in a dispute over drugs.
“Anyone who is to prepared to take someone’s life and put others at risk by discharging firearms on the streets presents a very serious threat to people.
“We hope the fact these men have been brought to justice today will serve to remind people of how seriously we treat incidents involving firearms and the significant penalties those involved in them will face.”
The trial heard Mr Chisholm was left at the door of a hospital A&E department after being blasted in the stomach. He escaped major injury but continues to walk with the aid of a stick and has been affected psychologically by his ordeal.
Both men denied the charges. Browne, of Twine Street, Hunslet, Leeds, claimed someone else had fired the shots while Normanton, of Hirst Street, Heckmondwike, denied any involvement.
Prosecutor Tony Kelbrick said Mr Chisholm and Browne had been friends before the incident. The jury heard Browne became angry with Mr Chisholm when he tried to intervene after Browne stole £10,000 worth of cannabis from a drug dealer.
Mr Kelbrick said Mr Chisholm had agreed to try to arrange for Browne to return the stolen drugs. The pair arranged to meet at a house in Francis Street in the early hours of the morning but as Mr Chisholm was coming out of the property, towards the passenger side door of a Renault Clio he was shot in the abdomen and fell to the ground.
Mr Kelbrick said he was able to see the car move away, only to turn back as though “he wanted to finish him off”.
But Mr Chisholm managed to crawl back into the house and friends drove him to St James’s Hospital, abandoning him in his BMW outside casualty. Mr Chisholm later told police Browne had been the driver of the Clio. He said Normanton was also in the vehicle and recognised him from a visit to Huddersfield he had once made with Browne.
Mr Justice Coulson said both men would have been facing life sentences with a minimum of 30 years had Mr Chisholm been killed. “You decided on November 23, last year that you needed to deal with Mr Chisholm. You obtained a gun. Sadly, such firearms are available for that in large cities such as Leeds.
“Through a complete streak of good fortune, which the doctors were surprised about, Mr Chisholm was not badly hurt. He still has the bullet in him and has damaged his sciatic nerve. But I am sure he has been psychologically harmed.”
He added: “This offence represents a huge escalation in your previous criminality. If Mr Chisholm had been killed then this would be a case in which you would both have to be sentenced to life with a minimum of 30 years.”