Four given life sentences for plotting drive-by killing in Birmingham

A man from Great Barr and three others have been given life sentences for plotting to murder a gang rival in a drive-by shooting in Birmingham.

Dante Mullings. Photo: West Midlands Police
Dante Mullings. Photo: West Midlands Police

Dior Jackson, Ihsaan Bernard, Omarni Bernard-Sewell and Ayuub Mahmood had all denied conspiring to murder Dante Mullings in May 2019.

The men, including Jackson who lives in Great Barr, were sentenced at the same court on Friday where they were all given life jail terms.

Dior Jackson. Photo: West Midlands Police

Dante Mullings was in a car parked by shops in St Vincent Street West, Landywood, at 5pm on May 7, 2019, when a gunman opened fire from a passing vehicle.

At least eight shots were discharged from a pistol aimed out of a VW Passat's passenger window – with one bullet striking Mr Mullings in the lower back.

CCTV showed the victim sprint from the car and hurdle roadside barriers, but he collapsed seconds later from the fatal internal injuries.

Two other passengers suffered gunshot wounds but survived the attack.

The VW Passat – which was stolen and was displaying cloned number plates – was found on fire in Duddeston Manor Road, in Nechells, later that night.

Omarni Bernard-Sewell. Photo: West Midlands Police

Bernard and Bernard-Sewell, both prominent Birmingham gang members, orchestrated the murder plot in revenge for a serious stabbing less than 24 hours earlier which left a friend critically ill in hospital.

Ihsaan Bernard. Photo: West Midlands Police

Detectives from West Midlands Police trawled through CCTV to track the vehicle at various points throughout the day – including the area of Great Hampton Row – immediately after the murder.

Recovered footage showed Jackson, aged 20, walk from the direction of the Passat into a block of flats wearing a grey hoody and re-emerge minutes later having changed tops. Further CCTV and phone enquiries implicated Bernard and Bernard-Sewell.

Detectives discovered Mahmood had contacted Hockley Car Spares on the day of the murder and collected the Passat's cloned number plates from the Hamstead Road business at 2.20pm on the day of the murder.

Officers raided the site on July 3 and recovered a machete, cloned number plates as well as laptop software used to create registration plates.

Bernard-Sewell, aged 24, was arrested from his home in Sturge Close, Selly Oak, on July 16 whilst 21-year-old Bernard, from Anerley Road in Kingstanding, was detained at Birmingham Airport later that day as he arrived on a flight from Amsterdam.

Ayuub Mahmoud. Photo: West Midlands Police

Jackson, aged 20, from Waddington Avenue, Great Barr, surrendered himself to police the following day and 19-year-old Mahmood, from Lozells Street, was arrested during a dawn raid on August 7.

The murder weapon − a 9mm self-loading pistol – was found in a bag hidden in bushes in Charter Street, Leicester on 4 November 2019. The gun was loaded with one bullet, plus eight other rounds were alongside it in the satchel.

It was examined by ballistics experts and shown to have fired the rounds that killed Dante Mullings − and was also linked to four other firearms discharges in Birmingham during 2018.

Revenge

Detective Inspector Hannah Whitehouse, said: “The shooting was prompted by a stabbing the previous day. The defendants were all friends or associates of the victim and made a pact to exact revenge.

“However, neither Dante Mullings nor the other two men in the car were involved in the knife attack.

"We don’t think they were specifically targeted but that the defendants drove around Ladywood searching for anyone associated to the group.

“Unfortunately for Dante, they came across him and his friends first.

"We know Dior Jackson was in the VW Passat at the time alongside another man.

"We weren’t able to prove who pulled the trigger − but we were able to show this group plotted together to carry out the shooting. And therefore they were jointly liable.

“We have dedicated police units in Birmingham to tackle gangs and organised crime; we will pursue anyone who chooses gang life and causes fear and harm in our communities.

“But for those who want to step away from gangs we can help. We work with partners to support anyone wanting to sever ties with gangs and get them on the path to a more fulfilling life."

At Birmingham Crown Court, life sentences were passed on the four defendants: Dior Jackson, 20, of Waddington Avenue, Great Barr was sentenced to a minimum of 29 years.

Ihsaan Bernard, 21, from Anerley Road in Kingstanding was sentenced to a minimum of 29 years. Omarni Bernard-Sewell, 24, of Sturge Close in Selly Oak, was sentenced to a minimum of 29 years.

And Ayuub Mahmood, 19, of Lozells Street, was sentenced to a minimum of 26 years. A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also charged with conspiracy to murder Dante Mullings and is set to stand trial on May 17 this year.

Two other men Mohammed Qadir, 20, from Dunsink Road, Aston, and 26-year-old Wasim Hussain from Gerard Street in Lozells were both cleared by a jury of involvement in the murder plot.

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