Pub killer jailed for at least 37 years

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A gunman was jailed for a minimum of 37 years and given three life sentences today for shooting two brothers in the head in front of their publican father.

One son died while the other made a "miraculous" recovery despite still having three bullets in his head.



Saturday Hassan launched his attack after being thrown out of the family's Newton Arms pub in Croydon, south London, during a party to celebrate the New Year.



He returned with a gun and shot brothers Darren and Junior Deslandes, who were helping father Wintworth, 58, in "10 seconds of devastation", the Old Bailey heard.



Hassan, 30, of Sydenham, south London, was found guilty yesterday of murder and attempted murder on January 1, and a firearms charge, on majority verdicts.



He was cleared of a further charge of attempting to murder the brothers' father.























Judge David Paget told Hassan he devastated the Deslandes family, physically, mentally and financially, when he fired eight bullets at the two men.

He said Hassan produced the semi-automatic pistol from his waistband and opened fire on the brothers as they tried to disarm him for the safety of people in the pub.



"It was brave and right of them to do so," said the judge.



The brothers were shot in front of their mother, father and younger brother.



Three bullets were still lodged in Junior's head because it was too dangerous to remove them. He would be affected all his life and may never work again.



Builder Hassan had been a man of good character but was attracted by gangster lifestyle, driving a BMW 4x4 car and having a gun.



Judge Paget said: "That car and that gun are the trappings of a gangster. You have no convictions but you appear to be someone who admires that style of life."



Hassan fired three bullets into housing officer Darren, 34, killing him with one which went into his brain.



His fiancee Abigail Beresford, 28, heard the shots as she was dialling the police.



Junior, a 26-year-old estate agent, was shot at five times, with one of the .32 bullets remaining in his skull and two embedded near his jaw after passing through his shoulder.



Edward Brown QC, prosecuting, said two others brushed past his head leaving scars. He had missed death by a fraction when he moved his head.



"That he somehow did not suffer the same ultimate fate as his brother, and survived, is little short of miraculous," said Mr Brown.



Mr Brown said Hassan was arrested by armed officers a week after the shooting as he prepared to flee to America.



Hassan claimed the shooting had been an accident as he was defending himself, and denied shooting at Wintworth.



Mr Deslandes broke down as he told the jury how his sons were shot. He said: "He aimed for their heads. He just wanted to kill.



"It was awful. Just like something you see in a Western film - not something you see in your own home.



"He started to fire and he didn't stop until there weren't any bullets left."



Mr Deslandes, who worked in the City for 25 years as an insurance underwriter before opening the pub, said he then had the pistol pointed at him.



After Hassan ran off, Mr Deslandes found his sons lying side by side and bleeding on the floor.



"It was the most harrowing experience of my life," he said.



Junior said he grabbed Hassan with his brother to try to get him out.



He said: "He managed to shake his hand free and shoot Darren. I saw a flash. I saw him fall.



"I turned back round and the gun was directly in my face. He managed to shoot me on top of my head. I staggered back and he carried on shooting.



"I remember falling to the ground next to my brother."



He said his recovery had been "miraculous", having spent weeks in intensive care.



He initially lost his power of speech and doctors thought he would never walk again.



"I was paralysed," he said. He is still receiving treatment but bravely hobbled into court to give evidence to convict his brother's killer.













Detective Chief Inspector Gordon Allison, from Operation Trident, said: "Hassan ruthlessly brought a gun into the Deslandes' family pub with the intention of killing the men who had bruised his ego only minutes earlier.

"The Deslandes family have never had any involvement in criminality - no reason to be the target of Hassan other than he had been removed from the family pub when an argument broke out."

Comments