Three men have been jailed for a combined total of 39 years as the result of an investigation led by a new detective team in the Met’s Trident and Area Crime Command.
The Trident Active Series Linked Team was set up in January 2017 with the intention of investigating firearm offences across London in which forensic analysis has identified the same weapon was used and remained in circulation.
In an investigation known as Operation Esyia, the team looked into a linked series of four firearm offences which took place in Lambeth and Wandsworth between 14 August and 3 September 2016.
Despite the fact that the firearm, believed to be a self-loading pistol, has never been recovered, examination of ammunition recovered at the scene enabled the four offences to be linked.
As individual investigations, each of the four offences had offered police only limited lines of enquiry, with no significant forensic, CCTV or witness evidence available.
However, the Active Linked Series Team investigated the series as whole after the Met’s firearm forensic scientists identified the offences were linked by the same gun. The team then began searching for other connections between the incidents and seeking out evidence that identified those responsible.
The investigation was carried out during a one-year period and resulted in the arrest and convictions of Richard Ojo, Myron Hyllam and Mamud Mansaray.
The first offence, which was initially treated as an attempted murder, took place in Yelverton Road in Wandsworth, shortly after 23:00hrs on 14 August 2016.
Whilst sitting in his car, the victim was approached, threatened with the handgun and then robbed of a Rolex watch and two gold chains. He then tried to run away but was shot in the leg.
Detectives subsequently recovered the Rolex watch during a search of Ojo’s home address on 10 March 2017.
The two gold chains stolen from the victim were recovered from Mansaray’s vehicle when it was searched on 22 March 2017, after his arrest.
A vehicle imagery specialist, who viewed the CCTV footage of the incident, concluded that the vehicles used by the offenders were most likely to be a Mitsubishi Outlander and a Ford Mondeo.
The same expert concluded that marks and damage found on a Mondeo linked to Mansaray were consistent with those seen on the Mondeo captured on the CCTV.
Hyllam, Mansaray and Ojo were stopped by police in a silver Mitsubishi Outlander a few days before the shooting in Yelverton Road. Mansaray was also linked to a Mondeo.
Analysis of their mobile phone records also linked the three men to the offence.
The same handgun was then discharged in Robertson Street in Wandsworth on 17 August 2016.
Police had been called out shortly before 03:00hrs after reports of shots fired.
When officers arrived, there was no trace of any victims or suspects but CCTV footage of the incident captured three cars in convoy at the scene. Two figures are seen to get out of one car before running towards Robertson Street. They return shortly afterwards and leave in the same car.
The CCTV evidence, together with forensic analysis of ammunition at the scene and analysis of mobile phone records, implicated Ojo and Hyllam as being involved in this offence.
Another shooting, which was forensically linked to the same weapon, took place in the Springhill estate in Lambeth shortly after 21:00hrs on 22 August 2016.
Two witnesses were driving and about to turn into the estate off Larkhall Rise when they saw a man fire three shots. The police investigation was never able to determine whether or not the shots had been directed towards a person.
Forensic evidence showed that the same firearm had been used. No evidence, however, was found to link Ojo, Mansaray or Hyllam to this offence.
The last incident in the series was a shooting on 3 September 2016, outside Leys Court on Brixton Road in Lambeth. On this occasion, CCTV evidence indicated the shots may have been fired towards someone who was seen to run away, but no victim was ever forthcoming or identified.
Ojo and Hyllam were both found guilty of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to rob in October 2017 after an eight-week trial at Woolwich Crown Court.
Richard Ojo 25 (15.05.92) of Stockwell Park Road, Lambeth, was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment
Myron Hyllam 27 (16.05.90) of Challice Way, Brixton, was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment.
At Woolwich Crown Court on 15 January, Mamud Mansaray 26 (27.10.91) of Mace Street, Tower Hamlets, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and was sentenced the same day to five years’ and 10 months imprisonment. He was found not guilty of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Detective Inspector Edward Facer, of the Met’s Trident and Area Crime Command, said: “The arrests and convictions of these men are the result of a year-long investigation that involved in-depth analysis of the four incidents, phone records, CCTV and forensic examination of ammunition found at the four scenes of crime.
“This investigation demonstrates how we are able to prosecute those responsible for firearms offences, even if there are no witnesses to a shooting.
“The lengthy sentences handed to these defendants should send out a message that gun crime will not be tolerated and we will relentlessly pursue anyone involved in firearms offences.”
Detective Superintendent Mike Balcombe, of the Met’s Trident and Area Crime Command, said: “The Active Series Linked Team was set up with the intention of prosecuting those responsible for multiple firearms offences. Through outstanding police work and expert forensic analysis, three men responsible for a series of firearms offences have been taken off the streets of London.”