Members of a police team which investigated a Sheffield murder have been praised for their efforts to crack the case.
Police officers and staff involved in the probe into the fatal shooting of Aseel Al-Essaie have received commendations from Chief Constable Stephen Watson for their roles in the ‘incredibly complex enquiry’ which landed three ‘dangerous’ men behind bars for a total of at least 90 years between them.
Mr Al-Essaie, 23, was shot dead in the Daniel Hill area of Upperthorpe in February 2017.
He had just pulled up in a car to attend a party to celebrate his twin sister’s engagement when he shot from a passing car.
Three men were each jailed for life after being convicted of murder and must all serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars.
Matthew Cohen, 29, of Clough View Road, Oughtibridge; Dale Gordon, 33, of Benty Lane, Crosspool and Keil Bryan, 32, of Brackley Street, Burngreave, were convicted on a joint enterprise basis in that it could not be proven who pulled the trigger of the gun but it was claimed that they were all part of a plot to kill.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that in the months leading up to the murder, Cohen, believed to have been the driver, slashed Mr Al-Essaie's brother, Saleh, in the face with some scissors following an argument about the drug dealing Saleh was doing for him.
A fourth man - James Good, 30, of Ringstead Crescent, Crosspool - was jailed for three years and three months after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice by destroying the vehicle used in the drive-by shooting.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Whittaker, the senior investigating officer in the case, said: “It was an honour for the team to receive such a prestigious award from the Chief Constable and I am incredibly grateful that the efforts of the entire team have been recognised.
“This was an incredibly complex inquiry and every member of the team worked relentlessly to pursue leads, gather evidence, identify suspects and ultimately get justice for Mr Al-Essaie’s family.
“This was a 14-month investigation into a shooting - a significant act of violence that shocked the community in Sheffield and the rest of South Yorkshire.
“Gun-related deaths are thankfully quite rare in our region, but this only heightened our resolve to bring those involved to justice to make our streets safer and as a result of my team’s tenacity, three dangerous men were put behind bars for a considerable period of time.”