Gun pair sparked panic on Sheffield estate

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THEY were the shots which sparked weeks of unrest and led to 24-hour police patrols on a Sheffield estate - and now two teenagers have admitted responsibility for the gun attack.

The pair left a 15-year-old boy with shotgun injuries to his arm following the shooting on Boundary Road, Wybourn.

Afterwards, warring groups ramped up tensions further with a stabbing and a brutal beating which left a man fighting for life, leading to 24-hour police patrols being brought in to restore calm.

Judge Michael Murphy QC said the youths - Devon Walker, aged 18, and his 17-year-old accomplice - are both facing the prospect of lengthy custodial sentences.

Walker admitted wounding with intent while the 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted the same offence as well as carrying a loaded shotgun in a public place.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Zaf Ali, who oversaw the investigation into the incidents last February and March, said he was pleased the teenagers had admitted their guilt.

“It’s quite a good result and I think it reflects the work that the police and the community did together in gathering all the evidence against these people for these violent crimes,” he said.

“It reinforces the message I gave out to the public at the time, that we would bring an end to the violence, restore order and bring people to justice for the injuries they were inflicting.

“These were really serious offences, especially for people so young.”

Following the shooting, a 20-year-old man was beaten and left for dead on grassland, a 17-year-old was stabbed in the abdomen, and there were also arson attacks and damage to cars and windows on the estate.

Concerned at the escalation of the ‘tit-for-tat’ retaliation incidents, South Yorkshire Police launched a high-profile operation, stationing officers on every corner in Wybourn and conducting around-the-clock patrols.

Police were given authority to use special powers to stop and search anyone in Wybourn, Park Hill, Skye Edge, Intake and Richmond.

Det Supt Ali said: “We brought some extra people in and beefed up the coverage of that area to support the local policing team.

“I don’t think some residents thought we would deliver, but we did. We kept our promise to them, so I’m quite pleased they have decided to plead guilty.”

He said calm was restored ‘fairly quickly’ on the Wybourn.

The background for the shooting was a dispute between rival factions loosely based around Wybourn. At the time, Det Supt Ali said the reason for the dispute was based on ‘distorted perceptions of respect’.

Walker, of Hamilton Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, and the 17-year-old, from Sheffield, were originally charged with attempted murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence on the first day of their trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Sentencing was adjourned until later this month while reports are prepared.

Adjourning the case, Judge Murphy said: “I particularly need a report on the younger of the two.

“It’s still a very serious offence. It will be a custodial sentence of some kind.”