A man has been jailed after he was convicted of the attempted murder of a man shot outside a Soho nightclub in 2019
Sheldon Pommell, 37 (17.06.84) of Park Avenue, Ruislip, was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Wednesday, 26 January to 26 years’ imprisonment.
Pommell was originally tried alongside the defendants listed below at Woolwich Crown Court on 11 January 2021, but the jury were unable to return a unanimous verdict on the attempted murder charge and a retrial was scheduled for 6 October 2021.
He was subsequently found guilty of attempted murder at Woolwich Crown Court on 4 November 2021.
The following co-defendants were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on 14 April 2021:
Richard Palmer, 39 (31.03.82), of Gurnell Grove, Ealing, was sentenced to 15-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Bolanle Roberts, 43 (23.12.77) of Balfour Road, Ealing, was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.
Robert Dolan, 34 (11.05.86), of Sutton Court Road, Hounslow, was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Palmer pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to attempted murder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and transferring a prohibited firearm. He was found not guilty of another count of transferring a prohibited firearm following a trial.
Roberts was found guilty of four counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and possession of ammunition with intent to endanger life. He previously pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to transferring a prohibited firearm, five counts of possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of unlicensed ammunition, five counts of possession of a prohibited firearm for transfer, two counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and possession of criminal property.
He was found not guilty of another count of transferring a prohibited firearm in relation to providing Palmer with the Beretta used in the attempted murder.
Dolan pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to assisting an offender, conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession of criminal property.
The court heard that at approximately 00:30hrs on 25 August 2019 Palmer and Pommell parked-up in a silver Jaguar in Rupert Street, Soho, and were captured on CCTV attending a nearby nightclub.
At around 03:00hrs, a fight broke out in the nightclub which resulted in a man being stabbed. The club closed and the attendees left, but the fight quickly resumed outside in Rupert Street between the same two groups.
Amongst the altercation taking place outside, Pommell and Palmer both leaned into the vehicle they arrived in, where Pommell was seen to pass an object he had been carrying in his right pocket to Palmer. Palmer placed this object into a bag.
Pommell was then seen to point north in the direction of the unsuspecting victim, aged in his 20s, and where the fight from the nightclub was continuing, while saying something to Palmer to encourage him to carry out his next move.
Palmer then quickly ran off after the victim and as he got closer, drew a firearm from the bag – resulting in screams and shouts from onlookers.
Palmer caught up with the victim, aged in his 20s, and fired two shots at him in the middle of a busy street, hitting him twice in the back.
Palmer ran back to the Jaguar, where Pommell was waiting nearby, seemingly un-phased after having fired the gun. Both men got into the car and made off from the scene shortly before 03:20hrs.
The victim self-presented at a central London hospital shortly before 03:30hrs with gunshot wounds. While he suffered damage to his internal organs, thankfully his injuries were not life-threatening.
The stab victim from the nightclub was taken to hospital by the London Ambulance Service where his injury was also assessed as not life-threatening.
Pommell was captured arriving home in the Jaguar at about 04:20hs, but Palmer was no longer with him. Phone records showed that Palmer called Pommell at 04:12hrs for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, implying they had parted ways by this time.
Specialist Crime detectives attended the scene of the shooting where they located two bullet casings. They began reviewing CCTV and speaking to witnesses to piece together a picture of what had happened and bring those involved to justice.
Pommell was arrested at an address in Ruislip on 26 August 2019. Officers searched the address where they found the clothing and jewellery he was seen on CCTV to be wearing the day before. The silver Jaguar was also parked outside the address.
Following a chase and a struggle, Roberts was arrested on 27 August 2019 in the West Acton area. He was searched and officers found £48,132.68 in cash as well as 0.6kg of heroin and 14.6kg of crack cocaine, with a combined street value of approximately £27,000.
Officers also located a set of keys to a flat in Coleridge Drive, Ruislip, which was not his home address.
Detectives conducted a search at the address in Coleridge Drive on 28 August 2019 where they uncovered a cache of firearms and ammunition found in a rucksack hidden in an airing cupboard, as well as a significant quantity of Class A drugs in the living room – some 2.17 kg of heroin with a street value of £95,000
All five of the seized firearms were sent off for testing and subsequently found to be in working order.
Among the items recovered was the loaded firearm used in the shooting in Rupert Street – complete with ammunition and a home-made silencer. Detectives also found a loaded Colt Revolver, which the jury heard must have been transferred between Roberts and Dolan as Dolan’s DNA was found on the sock wrapped around it. Further testing also revealed that Dolan’s DNA was on the grip and trigger of the gun itself.
The court heard that Roberts was the ‘quartermaster’ for individuals who needed access to firearms and ammunition and it is clear that he could produce them when called upon.
Detectives found further evidence of this from analysing Pommell’s bank accounts, which showed two payments of £3,000 from Roberts to Pommell in November 2018 and February 2019 – six months before the shooting. The prosecution argued that that Roberts was holding the firearm, ammunition and silencer for transfer to others as a way to yield potential revenue.
The jury heard that Roberts had provided Palmer and Pommell with the firearm for the specific purpose of their trip into London on 25 August 2019. The last stop Palmer and Pommell made late on 24 August 2019 before heading to the nightclub was Roberts’ address, which is likely when the exchange took place.
After becoming aware of Pommell and Roberts’ arrests, Palmer attempted to hide himself away to evade his own arrest. He was assisted in doing so by Dolan.
On 28 and 29 August 2019, there was repeated mobile phone contact between Palmer and Dolan – Dolan also made a number of calls to hotels in the area.
In the early hours of 29 August 2019, Dolan and Palmer went to a takeaway together in the Hounslow area before travelling to a hotel in Hanwell.
Palmer stayed at the hotel and was arrested there in the early hours of 30 August 2019.
Dolan was also arrested on 30 August 2019 at his home address in Teddington, where officers seized a shoebox containing £6,840 and a mobile phone, which had the same phone number provided to hotel staff the day before.
Detective Sergeant Chris Ladmore, the investigating officer from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “The men behind this violent incident have now received a combined 69-year jail sentence for their crimes.
“This operation started off as an attempted murder investigation, but led to us discovering a cache of loaded firearms and a wealth of ammunition that we were able to remove from the streets of London. Every bullet seized is a potential life saved.
“The victim who was shot on Rupert Street was lucky to survive – it easily could have had a different ending. The shooting is a stark reminder of the selfish disregard for human life and brazen use of firearms that people like Pommell, Palmer and Roberts hold.
“Tackling violence remains our top priority and restricting the availability of firearms is critical to protecting communities. Firearms have no place in London and this seizure has inevitably prevented further violence. We will continue to robustly target both those who carry firearms and those who supply them.”