A Sheffield gang member has today been found guilty of shooting a 12-year-old boy in the city earlier this year.
Stephen Dunford, 26, of Fellbrigg Road, was charged with attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life after the incident on 12 January.
Today, after a six-week trial, at Sheffield Crown Court, Dunford was found guilty of both charges.
He was also found guilty of an additional count of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life in connection to a firearms discharge on 10 January on Northcote Avenue.
Another man, Brandon Bailey, 26, of Manor Park Way, was also found guilty of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life. He had previously pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property on 27 August.
A third man, Devon Gregory, 23, of Heeley Green, who was charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, was found not guilty and acquitted of all charges.
On 12 January, a 12-year-old boy was stood with a group of friends outside a sandwich shop on Northern Avenue in Arbourthorne, Sheffield.
The group was intending to go to the cinema that afternoon, but around 3.45pm their plan was dramatically interrupted.
Detective Chief Inspector Jade Brice, investigating, said: “This was an atrocious act, which resulted in the shooting of a young, innocent boy.
“The victim that day was not Dunford’s intended target, but the incident has had a profound impact on him and his family.
“CCTV footage from that afternoon shows a white car drive past the group and witnesses described shots being fired. The boys immediately ran away from the car, clearly terrified.
“One of the boys, 12 years of age at the time, was shot in the leg. He bravely managed to run home where his father, understandably traumatised, called emergency services to the scene.
“A second boy had a miraculous escape as one of the bullets struck the hood of his jacket, narrowly missing his neck and head.
‘’Later that night, officers were called to a vehicle fire on Clough Road. It was a white Ford Focus, the same car used in the shooting. Checks revealed the vehicle had been stolen from West Yorkshire in November 2019.”
DCI Brice added: “Dunford was arrested two days later and charged with attempted murder and associated firearms offences, despite claiming he had been at his grandparents’ for Sunday dinner on the afternoon of the shooting.
“Perhaps the most compelling evidence against Dunford was a confession, made whilst he was on remand.
“During a phone call from prison, Dunford recited a rap that he had written himself, containing lyrics about his involvement in the shooting, in which a ‘youth was hit by a stray’, a reference to a bullet.
“The phone call was recorded and after being shared on social media, was seized by officers investigating the incident.”
DCI Brice continued: “Dunford is likely to now spend a significant period of time in prison and I know this will be a great relief to the Sheffield community and particularly the people of Arbourthorne.
“We could quite easily be talking about the death of a 12-year-old, thankfully that is not the case.
“Dunford’s actions sent shockwaves through a community who should not have to tolerate this type of behaviour on their streets.
“Bailey was found guilty of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, after a firearm with his DNA on it, was recovered during the wider investigation.”
Dunford was also found guilty of the shooting on Northcote Avenue, on 10 January, in which shots were fired at a car. A vehicle seen at the scene was linked to Dunford who had hired it just days before.
The incident was not linked to the Northern Avenue shooting.
Dunford and Bailey will be sentenced on 2 October.