A man who threatened to shoot a garage owner and demanded £9,000 from him was today starting a three-year jail term.
The victim, Jasbir Daroch, was targeted after giving evidence in a murder trial at Birmingham Crown Court, where the defendant was cleared.
Mr Daroch had come across shooting victim Dominique Grant lying in Uplands Road, Handsworth in April 2009, and was called as a witness to the murder trial.
But earlier this year Aaron Burris and another man who has never been traced started threatening Mr Daroch, who runs Rapid Autos in Smethwick, and said they had been told he was a ‘snitch’.
Burris, aged 34, of Summerton Road, Oldbury and the other man turned up at the garage in Anne Road, demanding £2,000 on one occasion and £7,000 on another, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
Burris was jailed for a total of three years after admitting two charges of blackmail and one of assault by beating.
His co-defendant, Joseph Hamilton, of Harvills Hawthorn, West Bromwich, was jailed for 12 months for assisting an offender after admitting driving the two men to the garage on the second occasion.
Mr Pat Sullivan, prosecuting, said Burris and a man known as ‘Manny’ had been getting cars serviced at the garage for weeks until Mr Daroch refused to serve Manny following a dispute.
On March 4, the pair arrived at the garage and demanded £2,000, saying ‘it would go away and they wouldn’t come back again’, Mr Sullivan added.
Mr Daroch refused to hand over any money. On March 14, Burris and Manny, driven by Hamilton, again turned up at the garage, the court heard. Mr Daroch was grabbed and pushed on to the street before Burris hit him in the face and kicked him.
Burris then told Mr Daroch he would ‘put one in him’ and reached inside his jacket as if handling a gun, Mr Sullivan said.
He also told him: “If you don’t pay I know where you and your family live and I will bring 10 others and come in and shoot whoever I see,” the court was told.
Mr Daroch phoned the police and Burris was later arrested along with Hamilton.
The court heard he has since moved house out of fear for his safety.
Judge Philip Parker QC said: “This was a deeply unpleasant offence and the victim was intimidated with horrendous threats.”
Burris had been due to stand trial yesterday when he changed his plea at the last minute.