'Extraordinary' luck led to murder trial as cops 'found gun by chance'
THE gun used in the killing of a revenge plot victim was discovered by chance after police arrested a Derby man on suspicion of having stolen property, a jury heard.
Victim David Gower's blood was found on the converted air pistol, in a bag on which police found the fingerprints of two other men, it was claimed at Warwick Crown Court.
One of them, Mark Francke, of Seymour Road, Derby, is among nine men on trial.
The nine have all denied the murder of 37-year-old Mr Gower in June last year.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Francke, 43, his cousin, Harold Hurst, 47, also of Seymour Road, Gary Rahim, Seymour Young, Colin Potter, David Simmons, Leroy Smith, Craig Halls and Cleavone Fisher all also deny conspiring to inflict grievous bodily harm on Luigi Prota.
The court was told that Mr Prota was the group's intended victim in a revenge attack after he assaulted Rahim a few days earlier.
Prosecutor Andrew Lockhart QC said Mr Gower bled to death after being shot and stabbed at Mr Prota's address in Rugby Road, Bulkington, Warwickshire.
The attack is alleged to have been carried out by Francke, Smith, from Leicester, Halls, from Nottingham, and Fisher, from Manchester, at the instigation of Coventry man Rahim, with the assistance of the other defendants.
After the attack the men were driven from the scene, allegedly by Rahim and Potter, and the gun secreted away until it was discovered in July this year, it was claimed.
"A quite extraordinary piece of luck fell to the Derbyshire Constabulary," Mr Lockhart told the court.
"Quite by chance they made an arrest of a man at the side of the road on suspicion of having stolen property. They went past him and thought it looked odd, so went back."
After arresting him, they went to his Derby home to carry out a search – and in a white bag in a locked outhouse they found the gun.
The weapon was shown to the jury and Mr Lockhart said it was an adapted airgun which had been converted to fire .22 bullets.
He said: "That gun was examined for the presence of DNA, blood and fingerprints; and the trigger guard and other areas were contaminated with blood. The DNA matched David Gower.
"How do we connect it to any of these defendants? That white bag bore the fingerprint of Mark Francke."
Phone calls between Francke and the other man whose prints were found, Mr Lockhart said, were made to arrange the collection and return of the gun.
The attackers are said to have travelled to and from the scene in Rahim's white Transit van and Potter's Land Rover Discovery.
"The prosecution say of this gun that it is very important to your deliberations," Mr Lockhart told the jury.
"One reason is because of its very size. You will think how could anyone be carrying that without anyone knowing?
"Anybody else in the vehicle would know – with the bats, the knives and the gun – that what was going to happen in Rugby Road was that someone was going to be very seriously beaten, if not killed."
The trial continues.