Abdullah Ishaq Sheffield Crown: Sheffield man involved himself in shooting after accruing large drug debt
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Sheffield Crown Court heard how the shooting was carried out at around 2.30pm on Saturday, March 18, 2023 near to Rotherham United’s football stadium, the New York Stadium, as crowds of people were making their way to the stadium to attend a match that was due to take place a short time later.
Sentencing 22-year-old defendant, Abdullah Ishaq, the Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Jeremy Richardson KC, said of the incident: “The backdrop to this offending is plainly drug dealing. Your basis of plea is that you had a long-standing drug problem. You were under pressure from a drug dealer to participate in what you thought was a robbery. You were told this would clear your drug debt and you would be supplied with more drugs.”
“You were aware of a handgun being in the vehicle as you travelled to Rotherham, though you were told it was an imitation firearm.”
A hearing held on December 11, 2023 was told how Ishaq’s role was to ‘block the exit’ of his victim, and while he may not initially have been aware of the plan to shoot the complainant, he continued to participate in the incident after the gunman opened fire.
Judge Richardson continued: “I’ve seen the CCTV of the events at the scene. The gunman gets out of the Audi motorcar, close to a church, and walked off. You got out of the same car, and eventually - having gone in the opposite direction at first - you followed the gunman.
"You both went down Orchard Place, towards Winifred Street in Rotherham and you came across the complainant…at 2.30pm, the CCTV footage shows the complainant running into Winifred Street and off to College Road. He was being chased by you and the gunman. He ran into an alleyway and was followed by the gunman. You, however, took a different route and ran into another alleyway, and as you did so, you shouted: ‘I’ll cut him off’.
“You were plainly seeking to ensure that the complainant could not escape. A few moments later, as the complainant was being chased down the alleyway by the gunman, and as was shown on CCTV, he took aim at the complainant and opened fire. Having gone to the ground, the complainant was shot at two more times.”
Judge Richardson told the court that two of the bullets fired at the complainant hit him, and he could be heard ‘screaming’ on the CCTV of the incident.
The complainant, who has not participated in the prosecution, was subsequently taken to Northern General hospital in Sheffield for ‘trauma treatment’.
Judge Richardson told the court that Ishaq, of Greasbrough Road, Tinsley, Sheffield, got back into the Audi vehicle, along with the gunman, and left the scene before travelling to the Canklow area of Rotherham where he changed his clothing and put on a particularly ‘distinctive’ coat.
“You did so in order to change your appearance and prevent you from being linked to the shooting. You then called a taxi to take you back to the area of the shooting.
"You were plainly concerned - as was the gunman - that the police would, in the course of their investigations, recover the bullet casings that had been left at the scene of the shooting and would incriminate you and the gunman,” Judge Richardson told Ishaq.
The court was told that Ishaq was captured on CCTV picking up the ‘spent bullet casings’ as the sirens of the approaching emergency service vehicles could be heard.
He was subsequently arrested at the scene, and was later charged with, and pleaded guilty to offences of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and assisting an offender at an earlier hearing.
The court was told how at the time of the Rotherham shooting, Ishaq was on bail for a number of offences carried out against a former partner in Birmingham between January and August 2022.
Judge Richardson described Ishaq’s catalogue of offending towards his former partner as ‘curated and persistent,’ adding that ‘it embraced physical violence and psychological harm’.
In relation to the Birmingham offences, Ishaq pleaded guilty to charges of: sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress; intentional strangulation; disclosing a private sexual photograph with intent; common assault and putting a person in fear of violence by harassment at an earlier hearing.
Judge Richardson said he had ‘well in mind’ the points of mitigation advanced on Ishaq’s behalf by his barrister, Ciara McElvogue, which included his guilty pleas, and the 'remorse' demonstrated through them, Ishaq’s lack of relevant previous convictions, his relative young age, his addiction to heroin and cocaine which led to his Rotherham offending and the fact he is now drug-free.
Judge Richardson jailed Ishaq for eight years, six months, comprising six years, six months imprisonment for his Rotherham offences, and two years jail time for his Birmingham indictment, and told him he will be required to serve up to two-thirds of that sentence behind bars.
He also made Ishaq the subject of a 15-year restraining order, which prohibits him from contacting the Birmingham complainant for that period of time.