Gun gang who fired at Wakefield home jailed for 14 years

A gang of men who fired a gun at a Wakefield house over a long-running feud have been jailed for more than 14 years between them.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 7:34 pm

The men planned the attack, then drove to the address on the Lupset estate and fired the weapon at the door of the property before fleeing and torching their vehicle at a secluded spot to cover their tracks, Leeds Crown Court was told.

The terrified family living at the property on Radcliffe Road were left so shaken they have since moved away.

The four involved all admitted conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life.

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The four received jail terms for their part.

Anthony Richard Smithey, 27, of Cedar Drive, Chickenley received a 39-month jail sentence.

Billy Michael Bedford, 21, of Cedar Road Chickenley, was also given 39-months' jail, and a 29-month driving ban for driving while disqualified.

Samuel Andrew Clegg, 23, of Edge Avenue, Thornhill, received a 30-month sentence.

Travis Koby Neagle, 27, of Neptune Street, Hunslet, was given a jail sentence of five years and two months after he also admitted unrelated charges including burglaries, handling stolen goods and possession of drugs.

The scene after the shooting.

Prosecuting, Michael Greenhalgh said there had been a confrontation on South Parade in Ossett, near to the Sainsbury's shop and the Prince of Wales pub, late evening of 13 August last year.

An argument broke out in which a man's name was mentioned, but who was not present. The police had to be called.

Then at around 3am, a Vauxhall Astra drove onto Radcliffe Road. It stopped and two men got out wearing balaclavas and fired shots towards the front door of a house.

They were heard shouting the name of the occupant, whose name had been mentioned during the argument on South Parade just hours earlier.

Travis Neagle for five years and two months' jail.

Leaving a spent gun cartridge behind, they then drove off before torching the car on nearby farmland before being picked up in a Mitsubishi Shogun.

The four were later arrested but initially denied any involvement.

During their investigation, police found CCTV footage of the Astra, which belonged to Smithey, at his address along with the other defendants shortly before they drove to Lupset.

A petrol can - which was later used to torch the Astra - is also seen.

Anthony Smithey received 39 months' jail.

Mobile phones belonging to the defendants were analysed and Mr Greenhalgh said it "demonstrated a degree of planning" for what they were about to do.

All four men eventually changed their pleas to guilty.

It was later found that they had used was a 'slam gun', a type of homemade firing weapon.

Mitigating for Smithey, Andrew Dallas told the court that had been laid off from his job at a fibreglass factory when the pandemic hit, and he had been drinking too much at the time.

Mr Dallas said: "He is very remorseful that he got involved with this."

Smithey has previous convictions for battery, burglary and low-level violence.

William Bedford got 39 months' jail.

For Bedford, who is Smithey's half brother, barrister Ashleigh Metcalfe said at the age of 21 he still had a "great deal of maturity to go through" and was influenced by those around him.

He only has one previous conviction for a motoring offence, as has Clegg.

Mitigating for Clegg, Matthew Harding, said his client was also immature and added: "He is not a particularly sophisticated offender and he is learning a very painful and difficult decision.

"In his words to me, he said 'I should have stayed at home in bed'."

Glenn Parsons, representing Neagle, said his client was brought up in the care system where he became involved in drugs which led to an addiction. He was given the lengthier sentence because of the additional charges he admitted, as well as being on his 'third strike' for domestic burglaries.

Passing the sentences, Judge Mushtaq Khokhar said of the shooting: "This was a serious incident.

"I do not accept that the people who were involved did not know what was going to take place. It was to send some sort of signal.

"They (the family) did not know it was a proper gun. They were targeted in their own house.

"As a consequence, they had to relocate themselves in order to overcome and keep themselves out of harm's way. They felt threatened by what happened that night."

After sentencing DCI Fiona Gaffney of West Yorkshire Police said: "Incidents involving firearms on the streets of West Yorkshire will not be tolerated and I hope this outcome shows that we will take action against those who bring fear and misery to our communities through their illegal use.

"West Yorkshire Police works closely with partners, through Programme Precision, to tackle the use of firearms in crime and make communities safer by taking these weapons off the streets. Anyone with information about the illegal use of firearms can report it to police, either by calling 101 or online through the West Yorkshire Police website.

"Information can also be reported anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or online."

Samuel Clegg was given 30 months' jail.