Arbourthorne shooting: Gunman described as ‘highly dangerous individual’

A Sheffield gang member found guilty of the attempted murder of a 12-year-old boy in a drive-by shooting has been described as a ‘highly dangerous individual’.

By Dan Hayes
Monday, 21st September 2020, 3:52 pm
Updated Monday, 21st September 2020, 4:42 pm

Stephen Dunford, aged 26, was today found guilty at Sheffield Crown Court of the attempted murder of the boy in an incident which took place in Arbourthorne in January.

He was also found guilty of possessing the firearm used in the incident with intention to endanger life on both the day of the shooting and in an earlier incident two days previously.

Speaking after the verdict was returned, Julian Briggs from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Although it is likely that the young boy was not the intended target, the jury decided that Dunford’s clear intention that day was to kill someone, and today they found him guilty of attempted murder.

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Stephen Dunford.

“It is only by great good fortune that Dunford’s actions did not result in the tragic death of the 12-year-old child. The second child also narrowly escaped serious injury or death.

“We would like to extend our thanks to the young victim for his bravery and co-operation with the police investigation, which allowed us to build a strong prosecution case.

"Because of his age, the evidence that he gave was recorded in advance of the trial and the DVD shown to the jury so that he was not required to attend court to be cross-examined in person.

“Dunford is a highly dangerous individual and he is now facing a long jail sentence. Our thoughts remain with the boy and his family, as he continues to recover from his injury.”

Pictured are police investigating the drive-by shooting of a 12-year-old boy at Arbourthorne, Sheffield.

On January 12 this year, the boy and a group of friends had met on Northern Avenue to go a fun park near to the Meadowhall shopping centre when white car drove past containing five men wearing hoods and balaclavas.

After the windows were wound down, the victim recognised Stephen Dunford sitting in the front passenger seat holding a shotgun while another passenger was also visible in the back seat holding a long-barrelled shotgun.

Multiple shots were fired at the group and Dunford was heard to say ‘we got one’.

The 12-year-old had known Dunford for some time and was also able to accurately identify him from his eyes, eyebrows and voice, and later correctly picked him out at an identification parade.

Brandon Bailey.

After he was hit in the leg, he managed to make his way home and an ambulance was called but doctors were unable to remove the bullet lodged in his thigh.

A bullet also passed through the hood of a second child in the group, inches from his head.

In addition to Dunford’s conviction, fellow gang member Brandon Bailey was also found guilty of conspiring to possess a second firearm with the intention of endangering life, also in January 2020.

Dunford had earlier pleaded guilty to an allegation of dangerous driving in November, in the same vehicle as that used in the shooting.

Brandon Bailey had previously pleaded guilty to an allegation of possessing £19,970 cash representing the proceeds of crime.

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