How police built their case against man jailed over shooting during Leeds West Indian Carnival
A drug dealer who shot a man at point blank range during Leeds West Indian Carnival celebrations was known to police for his involvement in organised crime.
West Yorkshire Police said 20-year-old Meshec James had been brought to justice as the result of a comprehensive investigation by specialist officers.
Detective Chief Inspector Jaz Khan, who heads the force's Firearms Prevent Team, said: “James is someone who is known to us for his involvement in drugs and organised crime and we believe he was involved in a feud with the victim that led to this shooting.
“The gun was fired at the victim at point blank range and it was only by chance that he was not more seriously injured due to the failure of the improvised ammunition used."
Leeds Crown Court heard today that James shot his 35-year-old victim in Chapeltown Road, Chapeltown, after a fight in the early hours of August 28 last year.
A police officer on patrol near to the junction with Grange Terrace reported seeing a man, later identified as James, approach the victim as he was sat in a parked Ford Fiesta and fire at him through the open driver’s window before escaping from the scene.
The victim drove off and later went to St James' Hospital where he was treated for an injury to his arm. It prompted staff to alert police.
His injury was relatively minor for a gunshot and officers assessed that this was because improvised ammunition in the gun had failed to work properly.
The victim declined to give a statement but enquiries continued and James was arrested by armed officers at his home in Hamilton Avenue, Chapeltown, later that morning.
A search of the premises resulted in the recovery of 33 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine, mobile phones and drugs paraphernalia.
The next day, a member of the public contacted police after finding a ‘manbag’ containing a black handgun hidden in a bush in Back Hamilton Avenue.
The weapon was found to be an Italian-made blank-firing Bruni pistol which had been converted into a viable firearm.
Forensic examination found dried blood on the trigger guard and the slide release catch which was later matched to James.
His blood was also forensically recovered from the outside of the Fiesta.
James gave no comment during two police interviews, but was subsequently charged with attempted murder, possession of a firearm and two counts of possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply.
He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and the other offences.
James, who has previous convictions for drugs offences and one for possession of a bladed article, appeared at Leeds Crown Court today.
He was told he must serve a custodial sentence of ten-and-a-half years, followed by an extended term on licence of four years.
Afterwards, Det Chief Insp Khan said: "James was brought to justice as a result of a detailed and comprehensive investigation by specialist officers whose work built up a significant weight of evidence that led to his guilty pleas.
“The criminal use of firearms on our streets cannot be tolerated and we will continue to do everything we can to proactively target those involved in this type offending and keep our communities safe.
“We hope the significant sentence that James has received will serve to reassure people and to remind others of the serious penalties that crimes involving firearms will attract.”