Tilehurst and Burghfield men convicted of firearm offences
A group of men - including a Tilehurst and a Burghfield resident - have been jailed for a combined 43 years after a gun was discharged seven times into the back of a man’s car.
Joseph Waters, aged 25, of Laytom Rise in Tilehurst, Sahit Shehu, aged 31, of Bunces Lane in Burghfield, Cleon Douglin, aged 37, of Coley Avenue in Reading, and Lee Peppiatt, age 36, of Corinne Close in Whitley, were all convicted by a jury at Reading Crown Court on April 19.
Waters was convicted of attempted murder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, and two counts of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply.
Shehu was convicted of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Both Douglin and Peppiat were found guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
At a hearing on April 28, Waters, Douglin and Shehu were jailed for a combined 43 years - Waters for 24 years, Douglin for 14 years, and Shehu for five years.
Peppiat is due to be sentenced on May 6.
The group were tried over five weeks at Reading Crown Court.
Two other defendants, Joshua and Monique Sofroniou, were found not guilty of the charges they faced.
The charges relate to an incident which occurred on October 16, 2019.
Detective Sergeant Gareth Perry, of Newbury police station, said: “Shortly after midnight on 16 October 2019, Sahit Shehu was involved in a road traffic collision which took place in Southampton Street, after which witnesses reporting seeing him transfer a handgun from his damaged vehicle into a BMW X5 which had arrived to pick him up.
“Inside the BMW was Lee Peppiat, who took Shehu back to his home address, before then transporting the firearm to Laytom Rise.
“Then a few hours later, at approximately 3.31am in Laytom Rise, Joseph Waters discharged that same firearm seven times into the back of a Honda Jazz vehicle, intending to kill a 42-year-old man who was sat inside. Peppiat and Douglin were present with Waters. The victim sustained a gunshot wound to his shoulder.
“The victim was treated at hospital for the wound and has made a full recovery.
“After the flurry of gunshots towards the car, Waters then got into a Ford Fiesta vehicle that had been hired by Cleon Douglin, and they both fled the scene. Peppiat left the scene in the BMW X5 vehicle that he used earlier on the same evening.
“The investigation also found that Douglin had deliberately left his mobile phone back at his home address earlier in the evening, in a clear and deliberate attempt to deceive officers into believing that he was at home when the shooting took place.
“All four were charged on 25 September 2020.
“This was a long and complex investigation.
“Due to the evidence collected, we were able to show that Joseph Waters intended to kill the man who was sat in the Honda Jazz vehicle that night. He fired seven shots towards the rear of the car, in the early hours of the morning in a quiet cul-de sac in Reading, clearly showing absolutely no regards for the community in what must have been a terrifying thing to hear or witness.
“Officers then later discovered that a significant quantity of controlled drugs were located in a vehicle linked to Joseph Waters, then a further quantity were located at another property linked to him
“I’d like to thank and pay tribute to the local community for their patience and understanding when officers were investigating this incident. No one should have to experience this form of violence in their community.
“The lengthy sentences handed down in Reading Crown Court clearly demonstrates that neither the police or the courts will tolerate any kind of violent crime.
“I’d like to remind everyone that the police are always ready to accept reports of violence or drug related matters that anyone might know of or witness. Call 101 and make a report, or go to our online form here. Alternatively, you can remains 100% anonymous by calling independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
“The supply and distribution of drugs in our communities causes untold damage, and through our Stronghold campaign, Thames Valley Police will continue to work in partnership to tackle serious organised crime and stop those who seek to exploit vulnerable people for their own means.
“Thames Valley Police will not tolerate this form of criminality in our communities, and will always investigate offenders, and bring them to court to face justice.”