Sheffield thugs rampage

Raymond Swindells, jailed for 10 years for New Year's Eve shooting and two stabbings.
Raymond Swindells, jailed for 10 years for New Year's Eve shooting and two stabbings.
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Four thugs armed with a shotgun and knives went on a violent New Year’s Eve rampage on a Sheffield estate, terrifying families and leaving three men with serious injuries.

Renowned hardman Raymond Swindells, aged 30, and his heavy, Stuart Hirst, 28, shot a teenager in the stomach and stabbed two other men as they tried to call in a debt during the terrifying spree of violence.

hours when drug dealer Swindells, Hirst and Micha Thompson, 25, burst into their home armed with a knife and a shotgun, demanding to know where her son was.

“Hirst raised the shotgun up threatening to blow her son’s head off,” said Mr Sharp.

“He told them if they snitched to the police he would kill them all. They were terrified.”

Jailing Hirst, Swindells and Thompson for a combined total of over 30 years, Judge Simon Lawler QC said: “This was a series of very violent events against a background of drugs enforcement.

“This case is characterised by the carrying of knives and a shotgun. All were used quite deliberately to cause injuries to three men.

“There were threats and there was behaviour which terrorised innocent women and children.”

Sheffield Crown Court heard the violent attacks were carried out because of a £1,200 drugs debt owed to Swindells by his former dealer Andrew Hudson, who had fled Sheffield.

But on New Year’s Eve Mr Hudson returned to Halfway, prosecutor Jonathan Sharp said.

Swindells found out and was determined to track him down.

In the hunt that followed Swindells stabbed two men - Nigel Sills and Ryan Wragg - in two separate incidents, while Hirst pulled out a shotgun at a New Year’s Eve party and ‘peppered’ Thomas Ryan with pellets.

He survived but suffered serious injuries and spent a week in hospital.

Mr Sharp said Swindells was well-known in Halfway.

“He was committed to preserving his reputation as someone who should not be crossed, and to whom debts should be paid,” he said. “He would use or to threaten considerable violence in order to keep that reputation.”

Mr Sharp said Swindells, Hirst and Thompson first went to Mr Hudson’s girlfriend’s flat at around 10pm to look for him.

Swindells and Hirst burst in, while Thompson kept watch, and Hirst pointed the gun at Hudson’s girlfriend.

Her father Nigel Sills wrestled with Hirst and, during the melee, Swindells stabbed Mr Sills in the face, neck and groin. He suffered a deep slash wound to the neck and face.

At around 2am they next barged into Mr Hudson’s family home on Inkersall Drive.

Mr Hudson’s mother was at home with his young half-sisters when the trio burst in. They searched the property, terrifying the family, then left.

The shooting happened in the early hours of New Year’s Day, when Hirst, who was still carrying the shotgun, and Andrew Harris, 25, who was armed with a knife, were thrown out of a party they’d gatecrashed in Halfway Gardens.

They returned at around 3am with Swindells in tow, bent on revenge.

Mr Sharp said Swindells ‘coolly and deliberately’ stabbed Ryan Wragg in the abdomen while Hirst shot 18-year-old Thomas Ryan in the stomach and arm at close range.

Swindells, of Shortbrook Drive, Westfield, admitted wounding, possessing a firearm with intent and affray, and was jailed for 10 years.

Hirst, of Algar Drive, Arbourthorne, admitted wounding with intent and three firearms offences and was jailed for 17 years.

Thompson, of Westfield Southway, Westfield, was jailed for 44 months, and Harris, of Challenor Green, Westfield, was given 27 months, both for affray.