Three handed life prison terms for drive-by killing of Black Country dad
Three men have been jailed for life having been convicted of the fatal drive-by shooting of a Black Country dad.
Father-of-one Carl Campbell was ambushed as he sat in a car at traffic lights in Dartmouth Street, West Bromwich, on 27 December last year.
Gunman Mohammed Humza, aged 19, fired five shots at the Ford Fiesta in which Mr Campbell was a passenger; one of the bullets ricocheted off the dashboard into the 33-year-old’s head and killed him instantly.
Humza was sped from the scene in a stolen Audi Q5 by getaway driver Vikesh Chauhan, aged 24, with co-conspirator Jaspal Rai in the front passenger seat.
They were seen by a witness laughing, smiling and appearing “quite happy with themselves” as they dumped the Audi across town in Kiniths Crescent.
However, West Midlands Police officers had already flooded the area having been alerted to the shooting over police airwaves – and both Humza and Chauhan were arrested as they tried running out of the residential cul-de-sac.
Both men were detained within just 10 minutes of the killing, while 24-year-old Rai was arrested by Belgian police on 8 January 24 hours after he skipped the UK in a failed bid to seek refuge on the Continent.
Two spent bullet cartridges fell from folds in Humza’s jacket as officers searched him in the street and another casing was later found in his pocket.
Humza was seen discarding items as he fled and an extensive search of gardens near the abandoned Audi uncovered a Smith & Wesson revolver, a sheathed knife and gloves.
Forensic tests on Humza’s jacket revealed high levels of gunshot residue, while his DNA was found on the knife and the black gloves – significant as a witness described the shooter wearing black gloves when they pulled the trigger.
Chauhan’s DNA was found on the driver’s door handle and steering wheel of the Audi, while Rai’s fingerprints were found in the car and his DNA on another glove found in nearby Dagger Lane.
Both claimed they had no idea Humza was armed with a loaded revolver and played no part in a murder conspiracy.
All three initially denied murder but Humza entered a guilty plea midway through the trial at Birmingham Crown Court, while Chauhan and Rai were both found guilty by a jury.
And at the same court today Chauhan and Rai were jailed for a minimum of 30 years with Humza – who received a five per cent discount for his late admission – told he’ll be behind bars for at least 28-and-a-half years.
Lead investigating officer, Detective Inspector Jim Munro, said: “The motive for the killing is still not clear – but what we can say definitively is that together they intended to kill or cause really serious injury to Carl Campbell.
“Chauhan and Rai pleaded ignorance – but Humza would not just produce and use a loaded gun and shoot someone in front of people who were not in on the plan and whom he could not trust; he would be taking a huge risk to do so.
“He counted on their support and assistance…and that’s what he got. This was a joint venture between the three; the gun was in Humza’s hands but the others knew about it and that it was to be used to shoot and kill. In essence, they were all in joint possession of the gun on that fateful day.
“Hopefully the victim’s family can take some comfort from the fact the killers will spend much of their lives behind bars.”