A notorious 'godfather' who sold machines guns to criminals in Birmingham while at the heart of a gang which gunned down two innocent girls in a botched attack has been jailed for 16 years. Nosakhere Stephenson, 41, masterminded an operation to sell antique firearms and specially-made bullets to criminals around the West Midlands city.
Police say the gun dealer, known as 'Nosa', believed he was 'untouchable' as he ran the operation alongside fellow gang members from inside the infamous Burger Bar Boys gang. The gang - which for years fought a bloody and protracted feud with the rival Johnson Crew - trafficked weapons including a MAC 10 machine gun, a brutal weapon which was used in one of Birmingham's most notorious murders.
Letisha Shakespeare and Charlene Ellis were innocent victims caught in the crossfire of the two warring gangs, whose turf war blighted the Aston area of Birmingham for over a decade and cost dozens of lives. Their murders, which took place in 2003, propelled Birmingham’s gun crime problem into the national headlines and kick-started campaigns by residents who had grown tired of the daily acts of violence.
Eighteen men have now been convicted for a series of offences relating to the criminal firearms operation which Stephenson ran. As he was jailed for 16 years, Detective Constable Phil Rodgers said the police operation - and subsequent haul of dozens of weapons and ammunition - had undoubtedly prevented more murders in the city.
He said: 'We will never know how long this supply chain has been active nor how many guns have passed through it and remain in criminal circulation. But the MAC 10 is an indiscriminate weapon - once fired it will spray and kill anyone. 'Birmingham has seen the tragedy such weapons can cause and still bears the sadness. I am sure we have prevented murders.' The court heard how the gang had thousands of rounds of ammunition specially made to be used with guns and revolvers, which they sold for about £3,000 each.
Sundish Nazran (left) was described as Stephenson's 'right hand man' and has been jailed for 13 years. Fitzroy Ducram (right) was jailed for more than seven years
Although Stephenson was never caught in possession of the guns, phone records linked him to each deal and every other person in the conspiracy - including his right-hand man, Sundish Nazran, who was jailed for 13 years. His Honour Judge Burbidge, sitting at Birmingham Crown court, said Stephenson was the 'go to man' and 'the directing mind' of the organised crime group when it came to obtaining firearms.
Jailing him, Judge James Burbidge QC said: 'You were the go-to man and directing mind of this organised crime group if firearms were required. You had significant influence over others and able to command respect and allegiance. 'You must know about the devastation caused to other families in your community when weapons have been used.The fact you must know that, yet still ply this trade, is beyond belief.'
|Stephenson was 'at the heart' of the Burger Bar Boys who for years fought a bloody and protracted feud with the rival Johnson Crew. Pictured: Members of the gang holding some of their weapons|
|Latisha Shakespeare (second from left) and Charlene Ellis (right) were innocent victims caught in the crossfire of the two warring gangs. They were murdered in 2003|
A search of Nazran's home also discovered a Colt Police Revolver, while a Walther handgun was found in Mattu's car. Class A drug dealers Mohammed Miah and Joynal Abdin - both of whom have been convicted - turned to Stephenson for help when two of their gang were shot at while sitting in a car in Aston, on July 31 last year. They bought the MAC 10 machine gun and 9mm ammunition from his group and then used Mohammed Ullah to store the weapon. He was found guilty after trial.
|As Stephenson was jailed for the offences, Detective Constable Phil Rodgers said the police operation had undoubtedly prevented more murders. This is one of the guns recovered by police|
Read more on Daily Mail