A GANGSTER has been given a life sentence after being caught in possession of a loaded firearm which he planned to use to kill or maim rivals in a revenge turf war attack.
Dwight Halliday, a leading figure in a Leeds drug gang, was handed the sentence after a judge was told of the impact of gun violence on the Chapeltown and Harehills areas of the city.
Undercover police watched as Halliday handed a loaded Russian-made Baikal 9mm semi automatic pistol, along with a silencer to Reece Liburd on St Marys Road, Chapeltown, on September 9 last year
Officers had followed Liburd after he got into a taxi in the Holbeck area of the city and travelled to meet Halliday before being handed the weapon.
Armed police then stopped the taxi as Liburd travelled away from the area and arrested him in possession of the weapon and ammunition.
Halliday was arrested in his Audi on Water Lane, near Leeds city centre.
Evidence linking him to the gun was found inside the vehicle, including a pair of gloves containing his DNA and gunshot residue.
Less than a month earlier, on August 16, Halliday was shot at as he drove a Vauxhall Astra hire car that was being pursued at high speed by an Audi S3 amid rush-hour traffic on Roundhay Road.
A passenger in the Audi fired what was believed to be a handgun at Halliday before the Audi crashed into the Astra and drove off at speed.
Halliday abandoned the Astra and sought refuge in nearby shops. The Audi was later found burnt out.
Police recovered the Astra and found a spent bullet in the boot.
Judge Christopher Batty said there had been 15 shooting incidents in Chapeltown and Harehills in the past 15 years, with one person being killed and eight seriously injured.
He told Halliday he was imposing the life term in a bid to deter others from becoming involved in gun crime.
He said: “This chain of events was the result of fueding, gang style behaviour.
“It is clear that there was more than one assailant working to kill or injure you.
“This was a loaded lethal firearm and you had no legal purpose for it.
“The presence of the silencer points directly to its use for criminal purposes.
“Your intention to pass it to Liburd was for it to be used to kill or seriously injure another who you were in a feud with at the time.
“Firearms offences are all too prevalent in this city.”
Halliday, 31, of Arthington Street, Hunslet, and Liburd, 23, of Harland Square, Woodhouse, were found guilty by a jury of two offences or possession of a firearm and one of possession of ammunition with intent to cause fear of violence.
Halliday was told he must serve a minimum of eight and a half years in custody before he can apply to the parole board for release. He was told it was likely he may serve much longer in custody and would only be released when he is no longer considered a danger to the public.
Liburd was jailed for ten years, five months.