Video: Watch the moment 3 gunmen who shot children in Wolverhampton were arrested

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Three gun-toting gangsters who shot two children in a playground have been jailed

Three gun-toting gangsters who mistakenly shot two children in a playground during a shoot-out have been jailed for a combined 69 years. The 11-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy were at a playground in Bushbury when they were hit by stray bullets fired from a stolen Ford Focus on May 1.

Gunmen Kian Durnin, aged 22, who was driving, with Tireq McIntosh, 23, in the front passenger seat, both fired shots from different guns, at a Mini Cooper. However, their woeful aim led to the children being hit by bullets. Martinho De Sousa, aged 24, was a back-seat passenger, of the car which was then involved in a high speed chase with their foes through the streets of Wolverhampton in which shots were fired.

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All three, from Wolverhampton, were found guilty of attempted murder after a month long trial at Birmingham Crown Court. They were sentenced today by Judge Derek Sweeting, who jailed them all for 23 years each. They will be eligible for parole after serving two thirds of the sentence. Durnin also was sentenced for handling stolen goods, two months, aggravated vehicle theft, for 18 months to run concurrently with his 23-year sentence.

Judge Sweeting said: "The evidence against you was extremely strong. Each of you were in the car for a purpose, you showed a callous disregard for life. It was only by chance there was not a loss of life."

However, the injuries to the 11-year-old girl, which involved a bullet being removed from her thigh had changed her life. The judge said: "She was a confident 11-year-old girl about to start secondary school before you turned her life upside down. The 15-year-old boy could have been part of the group you were attacking but he was wearing a balaclava so you could not have known who you were shooting."

Martinho De Sousa (L), Tireq McIntosh (C), Kian Durnin (R) have been jailed for a total of 69 years for shooting children in a Wolverhampton playground. Picture: West Midlands PoliceMartinho De Sousa (L), Tireq McIntosh (C), Kian Durnin (R) have been jailed for a total of 69 years for shooting children in a Wolverhampton playground. Picture: West Midlands Police
Martinho De Sousa (L), Tireq McIntosh (C), Kian Durnin (R) have been jailed for a total of 69 years for shooting children in a Wolverhampton playground. Picture: West Midlands Police | Picture: West Midlands Police

The judge remarked the three had reached their 20s without being sentenced for a violent crime and this will be the first time any of them will enter prison. He said: "This is a lengthy sentence which will give you time to reflect on your actions."

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Judge Sweeting also commended West Midlands Police for its meticulous investigation and the prosecution barristers successfully clinching guilty verdicts. Detective Inspector Francis Nock, from West Midlands Major Crime Team, agreed with Judge Sweeting it was only luck which prevented tragic deaths.

He said: “At least six shots were fired and it’s by sheer luck that these two children weren’t more seriously injured or killed. Thankfully, they have both made recoveries from their physical wounds. But this has left their families shattered. We may never know who the intended targets were, or why the shooting happened, but we believe it involved tensions between gangs in the Wolverhampton area, and may be connected to illegal drugs.

“Our recently created Major Crime Team had the resources and expertise to put a huge amount of officers into this investigation, reviewing more than 2,000 hours of CCTV and exploring countless lines of enquiry. This was a cowardly attack by men who had no hesitation in firing deadly guns next to a children’s playground.”

However, worryingly, the two guns used in the attack are still on the streets primed to cause havoc the next time criminals want to settle a score. A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: "While the weapons used in this attack have not been found, we’ve had significant success in taking guns off the streets of the West Midlands, with 134 seizures so far this calendar year (up from 121 in all of 2022) and 40 fewer shootings compared to last year. We’ve made a number of key arrests of in recent weeks, taking 20 firearms off the street during this month alone."

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The public gallery was full of supporters of the gunmen who shouted encouragement to the defendants. The victims' families were also in court to hear the sentences handed down. Kian Durnin, of Milton Road; Martinho De-Sousa, of Deansfield Road and Tireq McIntosh, from Valley Road, all wearing trousers and shirts left the dock in silence after being told their fate.

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