Footballer Gavin Grant guilty of gun murder

A footballer cleared of murder three years ago was facing a life sentence today after being convicted of another gun killing.

Former Millwall striker Gavin Grant was involved in a series of "tit-for-tat" shootings in and around a "lawless" council estate, the Old Bailey was told.



Grant, 26, who also played for Wycombe Wanderers before joining Bradford City as a non-contract player until the end of last season, was found guilty of gunning down Leon Labastide, 21.



Stephen Batten QC, prosecuting, said many of the people involved in the case had been linked to shootings and drug dealing on the Stonebridge Park Estate, in Harlesden, north west London.



He told the jury: "Attitudes and standards are different. It is more the law of the jungle than the law of civilised England.



"You will hear about and see people whose behaviour will probably disgust you and make you wonder if there is any hope for the human race."



Former associates had preferred to seek vengeance with weapons rather than get help from the police.



In August 2007, Grant was found not guilty of shooting Jahmall Moore, 22, who died in a hail of 16 bullets fired by three gunmen in January 2005.



But today, he was found guilty of Mr Labastide's murder in January 2004 after trials last December and this month.



The court was told it was Mr Labastide's killing which led to the second murder and a spate of shootings on the estate.



Grant denied involvement and said Mr Labastide, who was known as Playboy, was a friend.



Operation Trident gun-crime detectives believe there were up to 30 connected shooting incidents in the area arising out of the fall-out.



Following the arrests of Grant and others, officers said shootings fell by almost 50% in the area.



Stonebridge Park, although still notorious for drugs and crime, has seen improvements with a £250 million regeneration.



Detective Inspector Steve Horsley said: "Gavin Grant thought he had got away with murder.



"He carried on his footballing career while, all along, he had blood on his hands."



Gareth Downie, 25, was also found guilty of murdering Mr Labastide.



Damian Williams, 32, was found guilty of conspiring with them to murder Mr Labastide.



All the verdicts were by 10-2 majorities. They were all remanded in custody for sentencing on Monday.



Roberto Parchment, 24, originally convicted of Mr Moore's murder, was found guilty again following a retrial in December brought about by supergrass Darren Mathurin's involvement.



He was jailed for life again and ordered to serve the remainder of his 28-year sentence.



Romain Whyte, 25, was cleared of that murder by a 10-2 majority verdict.



The jury heard that trouble started with a burglary at the home of Whyte when three women were terrorised and it was suspected that £20,000 in drug money was taken.



A 16-year-old girl, who had been in the house, gave evidence under an assumed name in the trial.



It was rumoured that Mr Labastide was behind the burglary, and Williams arranged for Grant and Downie to shoot him, it was alleged.



In the spate of shooting incidents which followed, Mr Moore was gunned down by Parchment in mistake for Sean Cephanis following a hate campaign he was suspected of starting.



Grant told the court he was not involved in the shooting and said he had been set up.



Grant, from Kenton, north London, Williams, of Southwark, south London, and Downie of Markby Road, Birmingham, all face life sentences.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style