Gang to serve more than 114 years in prison for double shooting in supermarket car park
A gang of contract killers will serve a combined total of more than 100 years in prison over the drive-by shooting of the son-in-law of the Mayor of Kirklees.
Six men conspired to murder Hamza Hussain, then 22, who was shot along with his friend Mohammed Hussain, 27, as they sat in a car in the car park near the Sainsbury’s Local store in Fountain Court, Liversedge.
Leeds Crown Court heard how Hamza drove into the car park at 7.10pm on November 4, 2019 and parked up. As they sat there a VW Golf pulled up alongside and seconds later Hamza had been shot at close range with a 9mm handgun.
One bullet went through Hamza’s body into Mohammed’s and the second lodged near Hamza’s spine. Neither the Golf nor the weapon have ever been found.
Six defendants – Umar Ditta, 34, of Larkspur Way, Batley; Aadil Malik, 25, who was in prison at the time; Azeem Hussain, 34, of Kertland Street, Savile Town; Jamal Malik, 25, of Chaster Street, Batley; Kane Wilby, 20, of Wellington Street, Batley; and Yaseen Ahmed, 26, of Cairn Court, Heckmondwike – were convicted of conspiracy to murder following a nine-week trial.
Ditta was jailed for life with a minimum of 20 years, Aadil Malik, due to be released this July, will serve 18 years and Azeem Hussain was sentenced to a minimum of 16 years.
Jamal Malik, Wilby and Ahmed must serve a minimum of 12 years.
Judge Tom Bayliss QC said: “The rule of law means absolutely nothing to you. All of you were prepared to organise together in order to kill another man in cold blood. Each and every one of you displayed a complete contempt for the law.”
Three other defendants – Mohammed Hamza Hussain, Adeel Hussain and Khamier Masood – earlier admitted an alternative charge of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life. They were each jailed for eight years and two months.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Bayliss said the murder plot was instigated by Umar Ditta, who commissioned Aadil Malik to organise it from prison.
“It was, I am sure, to be a contract killing,” said the judge.
The plot was described as highly sophisticated and had been intended to show no “discernible link” between the victim and the contract killers. Only diligent police work pieced together what had happened.
The judge said the motive behind the crime remained unclear and added: “Umar Ditta’s reason for wishing to have Hamza Hussain killed is, and will probably remain, obscure.”
Yaseen Ahmed drove the Golf and Kane Wilby had the gun. They were able to follow their victim’s car as a tracking device had been planted by a second organised group under the direction of Azeem Hussain.
Both men suffered bullet wounds and Hamza Hussain was “lucky to survive”.
The shooting sparked a major police investigation by West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team and the force’s Firearms Prevent Team, who identified gang members and pieced together their movements after locating the tracker.
As a result of enquiries it was determined the shooting of the two men had been co-ordinated by Umar Ditta, who had taken care to try and put distance between himself and the crime.
He had arranged for the tracker to be accessed by phone from Aadil Malik from within prison where he was already serving a sentence for other firearms offences.
Detective Superintendent Mark Swift, of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, who led the investigation, said: “We welcome the sentences given at court today following a significant criminal investigation involving HMET, Programme Precision and Kirklees Police into the shooting of two men outside a busy community supermarket.
“This was a shocking act of lawlessness and it is only by pure good fortune these men’s actions did not result in a double murder.
“We have always made clear that the force will utilise every available resource when seeking to bringing firearms offenders to justice, and this complex case benefitted from excellent teamwork across West Yorkshire Police.
“It was indeed a sophisticated and determined attempt to execute two men using tracking technology. There is a level of irony in the fact that a tracker they used to target the victims proved highly valuable in helping us track them down as the architects of the crime.
“This case again demonstrates that those who think it is somehow acceptable to use weapons on our streets will be brought to justice.”
He added: “Programme Precision was established by the force to investigate and support investigations into serious organised crimes such as this offence.
“Those involved in such organised criminal gangs should be under no doubt that police forces possess significant specialist investigative capabilities and will use them to break up their activities and keep our communities safe.”