Man guilty of murdering Leeds father of two

Gavin Clarke.
Gavin Clarke.
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A man is facing life in jail after being found guilty of blasting a father of two to death with a sawn-off shotgun in a busy street.

A jury of six men and six women found Afzal Arif, 23, guilty of murdering 34-year-old Gavin Clarke after a four-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.

The incident took place on Savile Avenue, Chapeltown, at the time of nationwide rioting on August 8 last year, leading to disturbances in that part of Leeds.

Mr Clarke died four days after being struck in the face and neck by 85 shotgun pellets.

The jury found Sohail Mahmood, 23, of Savile Road, Chapeltown, not guilty of the charges of murder and manslaughter but guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The prosecution had claimed he helped Arif identify Mr Clarke shortly before the shooting.

Mahmood gave evidence at the trial in which he said he had not been recruited by Arif and didn’t know he had a gun.

Arif admitted carrying out the shooting but said he only meant to scare Mr Clarke.

A third man, Ibrar Din, 24, of Mexborough Street, Chapeltown, was also found guilty of conspiracy to pervert justice.

Three others will be sentenced after pleading guilty to taking part in the conspiracy.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, adjourned the case but said Arif, of Elford Grove, Harehills, faced a life sentence and the others custodial sentences.

After the hearing, Det Chief Insp Lisa Griffin, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team (HMET), said: “This event took place during civil unrest across the UK and it is to the credit of his (Mr Clarke’s) family and local people that there was not widespread disorder across Leeds as a result.

“Many members of the Chapeltown community worked hard to support the police in keeping tensions under control and I am grateful to all those who assisted with this murder investigation.”

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