Road-rage driver gets eight years for gun attacks

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The Independent Online

A man who opened fire at a van driver who drove too close to him, and shot another man during an argument at a nightclub was sentenced to eight years in jail at the Old Bailey yesterday.

Gary Lloyd Nelson, 26, a security guard, was found guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and of possessing a firearm in a public place.

Builder Gary Kewell said that in September 1993 he had been driving behind Nelson in south London. He grew impatient as he followed Nelson's BMW, which slowed down at every junction.

The pair exchanged obscene gestures but the builder became nervous when he saw a girl passenger in Nelson's car reach into the footwell and hand him something.

Mr Kewell said: "I thought it was getting a bit silly so I decided to turn right ... then he leaned out of the window and pointed his right arm at me. I heard a cracking noise and I ducked down behind the dashboard.

"I felt the thuds of the bullets hitting the van. From the rate of fire I would have said it was an automatic weapon." Mr Kewell added: "I was very shaken."

The court heard how earlier another man escaped injury when Nelson allegedly shot him in a night-club and the bullet hit the zip on a pouch he was wearing round his neck, ricocheting off.

William Boyce, prosecuting, told the court that in June 1993 Nelson had fired shots at Mohammed Massaquoi in the street after an argument over a woman.

The pair next met at the SW1 Club where Nelson walked up to him and said: "Remember me? I'm the guy that was buzzing shots at you," before pulling a pistol from his waistband and opening fire, hitting him in the legs, thigh and buttocks.

Mr Massaquoi gave evidence at Nelson's trial but was in custody awaiting trial himself on a charge of attempted murder. He was found dead in prison soon after. Judge Denison said the cause of death was not yet known but that it was "likely" to be suicide.

Nearly two years ago Nelson was accused with another man of plotting to murder an alleged drugs dealer, William Danso. The charges were discontinued early in proceedings. It was while on the way to investigate Mr Danso's death that PC Patrick Dunne was shot dead in Clapham in October 1993.

The jury took four hours to reach its verdict at the Old Bailey, sitting at Southwark Crown Court. As Nelson was sentenced he winked to supporters packing the public gallery.