Arbourthorne shootings Sheffield: Trio found not guilty of conspiracy to murder

Two men and a woman have been cleared of conspiring to murder a man in Sheffield, following a three-week trial.

By Robert Cumber
Monday, 13th December 2021, 5:38 pm

Joshua Mottershead, Niki Haycock and Demi Dunford all denied conspiring to kill Ryan Ducker through two drive-by shootings in the Arbourthorne area of the city on June 30, 2020.

Following a three-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court, a jury found all three not guilty on Monday, December 13 of conspiracy to murder.

Mr Mottershead, aged 22, of St Aiden’s Avenue; Mr Haycock, aged 23, of Ironside Close, Sheffield; and Ms Dunford, aged 25, of Derby Street, Sheffield, Sheffield, were also found not guilty of conspiring to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life.

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Police outside a home on Errington Avenue, near Arbourthorne, Sheffield, where a drive-by shooting was reported

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Ms Dunsford and Mr Haycock were acquitted too of conspiring to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence.

Mottershead admitted that charge, with the court having heard how he accepted he was the car passenger who discharged a gun but claimed his motivation was only to cause fear.

Jason Brough, aged 51, of Kent Road, Sheffield, had pleaded guilty to arson and Dunford admitted perverting the course of justice in relation to her involvement with a car – a Vauxhall Astra which the prosecution alleged had been used in the shootings – being torched.

Bullet holes in the window of a home on Errington Avenue, near Arbourthorne, Sheffield

Mottershead, Brough and Dunford are all due back in court to be sentenced for those counts on January 17, 2022.

The trial followed two shootings which were reported at properties on Errington Avenue and Aylward Road, near Arbourthorne, Sheffield, on June 30, 2020.

Prosecutors had claimed during the hearing that the shootings were the culmination of a plan to shoot and kill Mr Ducker, who was known to frequent those addresses, but the defendants denied being part of any such conspiracy.

The court heard how an occupant at a home on Errington Avenue had been woken at 9.30pm by gunshots blasting through his living room window as his wife and son were upstairs.

In the other shooting at 9.53pm on Aylward Road, jurors heard how a mother had been with her daughter and her sister and her three-year-old daughter and ten-month old baby when shots were fired through the living room window. The 10-month-old was reportedly showered with broken glass.