Gunman facing life for shooting brothers

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The Independent Online

A gunman is facing a life sentence 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 dad Wintworth, in "10 seconds of devastation", the Old Bailey heard.



Hassan, 30, of Sydenham, south London, was found guilty 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, Wintworth, 58.



He will be sentenced tomorrow.







Builder 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 had 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.



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 in a pool of blood on the floor.



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



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 had 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.