Aseel Al-Essaie: Key witness saw brother gunned down in broad daylight in Sheffield

The murder scene on Daniel Hill and and victim Aseel Al-Essaie inset
The murder scene on Daniel Hill and and victim Aseel Al-Essaie inset

A key witness who saw his own brother gunned down in broad daylight on a Sheffield street has appeared in court to give evidence.

Ali Al-Essaie said he saw a 'cowboy film' style gun pointing out a window of a Volkswagen Golf which was used to kill his brother Aseel.

Sheffield men Matthew Cohen, aged 29, Dale Gordon, 33 and Keil Bryan, 32, are alleged to have fatally shot the 23-year-old at ‘point blank range’ as he sat alone in a black Mercedes car parked on Daniel Hill, Upperthorpe, on February 18 last year.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Ali and Aseel had both hired Mercedes cars for the engagement of their sister and had passed each other in their vehicles to chat near where the party was being held.

Taking the stand, Ali said Cohen was the driver of the VW Golf which he saw moments after talking to Aseel.

Ali claims he had an altercation with Cohen moments before the shooting at 1.32pm that day, as the two men passed each other as they drove in cars travelling in opposite directions on Daniel Hill.

He said Cohen, who he had known for '10 to 15 years', shouted obscenities at him as he drove past in a VW Golf with one front-seat passenger and one back-seat passenger.

The witness said he saw the VW Golf beeping at Aseel and the victim gestured them to go around but instead pulled up along side him.

When asked by prosecutor David Brooke QC about the shooting, Ali said: "A gun was sticking out of the window and my brother was telling them to go away and then they shot him.

"Aseel came out of his car holding his shoulder and was running towards my car. He tried to get in but couldn't because it was locked. I unlocked it and got out but he was on the floor.

"I tried to put him in the car and was shouting for help.

"I tried to talk to him but he was already gone."

Ali said the gun had come from the passenger window.

In cross examination, Simon Csoka QC, representing Cohen, asked Ali if Aseel was a drug dealer and if he knew he had a knife in the car. Ali denied he knew either of those things.

"I suggest your brother has been a drug dealer in that area for some years and you know that?" Mr Csoka QC said.

Ali replied: "I don't know that. That's what you think, I've never known that he dealt drugs. You're trying to make him look bad."

Four other defendants are also on trial in connection with Aseel's death.

James Good, 32, of Velocity Towers, St Mary’s Gate, and Cohen’s mother, Patricia Sharp, 58, of Bramwell Close, Netherthorpe, are both charged with perverting the course of justice. Brothers Razwan Mirza, 35, and Mohammed Mirza, 30, of Staniforth Road, Darnall, are charged with assisting an offender.

All defendant deny all charges. The trial continues.