Carl Campbell: Laughing killers guilty of murdering father shot dead at traffic lights in West Bromwich
Two men were this afternoon found guilty of killing of a Black Country father who was shot dead in a car in broad daylight.
Jaspal Rai, 25, and Vikesh Chauhan, 24, were convicted of the murder of Carl Campbell in West Bromwich.
Mr Campbell, 33, was shot dead as he sat in a Ford Fiesta in Dartmouth Street on December 27 last year.
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The father-of-one, from Bilston, was gunned down as his car waited at traffic lights.
The court heard during the trial that the drive-by shooting came after the killers became convinced Mr Campbell had stolen a £5,000 Cartier watch from Chauhan.
They tailed his vehicle around the streets of West Bromwich before launching the fatal ambush.
Mr Campbell's friend of 20 years, Rakesh Kumar, was driving the hired Fiesta and narrowly avoided being shot himself.
He tried to save his pal but Mr Campbell died at the scene outside The Strollers pub at around 2.30pm.
Mohammed Humza, 20, of no fixed abode like his two co-accused, had admitted murder earlier. He fired five shots, one of which ricocheted off the dashboard of the Ford Fiesta and hit the victim in the head as he sat in the passenger seat.
Humza was sped away from the scene by driver Chauhan, with Rai in the front passenger seat of the stolen Audi Q5, which they dumped across town in Kiniths Crescent.
One witness described 'how they were laughing, smiling and appearing quite happy with themselves'.
Police raced to the scene and Humza and Chauhan were arrested within 10 minutes of the murder as they tried fleeing Kiniths Crescent.
Two spent bullet cartridges fell from folds in Humza's jacket as officers searched him in the street. A Smith & Wesson revolver, knife and gloves were found after he was seen dumping items in gardens near the scene.
He had gunshot residue on his jacket, and his DNA was found on the knife and gloves.
Rai was arrested by Belgian police on January 8, 24 hours after he fled the UK.
Lead investigating officer, Detective Inspector Jim Munro, said: “The motive for the killing is still not clear − but what we can say definitively is that together they intended to kill or cause really serious injury to Carl Campbell.
“Chauhan and Rai pleaded ignorance − but Humza would not just produce and use a loaded gun and shoot someone in front of people who were not in on the plan and whom he could not trust; he would be taking a huge risk to do so.
“He counted on their support and assistance…and that’s what he got. This was a joint venture between the three; the gun was in Humza’s hands but the others knew about it and that it was to be used to shoot and kill. In essence, they were all in joint possession of the gun on that fateful day.
“I am happy for the victim’s family that the jury has returned this verdict and hopefully they can take some comfort from the fact the killers will spend much of their lives behind bars."
Chauhan and Rai were also both convicted of possession of a firearm at Birmingham Crown Court.
In the wake of the tragedy, Mr Campbell's family paid tribute to the father of a boy aged two.
In a statement they said: "Carl was a much loved son, devoted father and beloved brother who was always there for his family and friends - especially his beautiful baby boy and his younger brothers."
Today Judge Mr Justice Haddon-Cave thanked Mr Campbell's family for their dignified behaviour during the three-week trial.
He said: "I very much admire the quiet dignity everyone in the public gallery has shown in these very difficult circumstances and thank you for it."
The judge also praised the police officers who helped apprehend the killers, saying they should be commended.
Addressing the defendants, he said: "I am going to adjourn sentencing on this case until Tuesday next week.
"I will proceed to sentence all three of you together, in light of whatever submissions counsel make to me."
After his death, Mr Campbell's family had paid tribute to him, saying: “Carl was a much loved son, devoted father and beloved brother who was always there for his family and friends especially his beautiful baby boy and his younger brothers.”
All three will be sentenced on Tuesday.
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