A witness in the Jordan Thomas murder trial has claimed he was ‘pressured’ into saying he saw one defendant with a gun 24 hours before the shooting.
Kalim Akhtar had given a statement to police in May that he had seen Jama Ahmed with a gun on De La Salle Drive in Burngreave on December 20, the day before Mr Thomas was shot dead by a masked gunman on Derek Dooley Way.
Ahmed and fellow defendant Asif Yousaf are now on trial for the murder and it is the prosecution’s case they were part of a ‘planned attack’ on Jordan following a long-running feud between ‘rival groups’.
But giving evidence at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday, Mr Akhtar initially claimed he could not remember what had happened.
His original police statement was read to the jury by prosecutor Bryan Cox QC.
Mr Akhtar admitted it was his signature on the statement but said he ‘didn’t know what I was signing’ and had been given a blank sheet of paper.
He said: “The statement was at someone else’s house. I was pressured.”
In his original statement, Mr Akhtar said that between 8pm and 9pm on Saturday, December 20, he saw a man carrying a gun and wearing a balaclava ‘looking around’ on the street close to his house.
He said he went out to his friends who were in a car outside a couple of minutes later and one of them told him the man had pointed the gun at him before saying ‘Oh, it is not you’.
Mr Akhtar said: “We knew he would have been looking for Jordan.”
He said the group had later gone to Broomhall, where he had seen Jama Ahmed, who he had known for a ‘number of years’.
The statement said: “He was wearing exactly the same clothing I had seen the gunman wearing shortly before on De La Salle Drive. But he didn’t have the balaclava on.”
In the statement, Mr Akhtar also said that around 9pm on the night of the shooting, he had seen a red Mitsubishi Shogun on De La Salle Drive which had three people inside.
He said one man wearing a balaclava and with his hand in his pocket and potentially ‘carrying something’ had got out and come over to a car he was in and asked ‘Where are they?’ before getting back into the Shogun.
Ahmed, 26, of Violet Bank Road, and Yousaf, 33, of Broomhall Place, both deny the murder of Mr Thomas and the attempted murder of Neshaun Ferguson, who was injured in the shooting.
Yousaf’s parents, Mohammed Yousaf, 61, and Tazeem Bi, 57, both of Violet Bank Road, both deny attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The trial continues.