Gunman jailed for firing at crowd outside club

Joel Soloman Williams
Joel Soloman Williams
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A MAN branded a danger to the public after opening fire at a crowd on the Wicker has been jailed for seven years.

Joel Soloman Williams, aged 28, of Selly Oak Grove, Jordanthorpe, Sheffield, was caught on CCTV firing a gun at revellers outside the Sheffield and District African Caribbean Community Association on The Wicker just a few weeks after he was released from prison for manslaughter.

Police took the unusual step of releasing his picture in a nationwide appeal for help in tracking him down when he went to ground after the shooting in October 2010.

He had only been released from prison a few weeks earlier, after serving seven years for manslaughter for stabbing a drug dealer to death in an alleyway in Hyde Park, Sheffield, in August 2004.

Williams and his accomplice Ryan Naughton, in his early 20s at the time, grappled with victim Rory Lee off Hyde Park Terrace, Hyde Park, minutes after he sold heroin to three local addicts.

Naughton pushed Mr Lee to the ground and Williams stabbed him several times, slashing an artery in his thigh.

Williams had only been released from prison the day before the stabbing attack after serving a sentence for robbery.

Both men pleaded guilty to manslaughter after previously denying murder.

Williams, known on the streets as Juvi and Juvenile, also has convictions for theft, shoplifting, common assault and possessing heroin with intent to supply.

Detectives who led the nationwide manhunt for him after the shooting said he caused ‘mass panic’ when he opened fire with a handgun, causing people to run for cover.

The gun was fired three times into the crowd.

Earlier in the evening he had been inside the SADACCA.

Detective Inspector Bob Chapman, who led the hunt for Williams, said: “The streets of Sheffield are safer without him – he is a danger to the public who shows a blatant disregard for the safety of others, as demonstrated when he discharged the firearm into a crowd of people.”

He said Williams initially denied the offence of possessing a handgun with intent to cause fear of violence, but pleaded guilty on the day he was due to stand trial.

Williams has never revealed the reason for the attack or his intended target.

DI Chapman said: Unbelievably nobody was injured when the firearm was discharged.

“Nobody came forward at first and we weren’t sure what had happened until the following day and it was only when we were able to gain possession of the CCTV footage from inside and outside the SADACCA, that we were able to establish the true extent as to what had occurred.”