Jury told Sheffield cocaine-user's interest in guns does not make him a drug-dealing murderer

A jury has been told a cocaine-user's interest in guns does not make him a drug-dealing murderer after the fatal shooting of Ramey Salem.

By Jon Cooper
Friday, 17th June 2022, 6:45 am

Sheffield Crown Court has heard during an on-going trial how Jabari Fanty, Aaron Yanbak and Ricardo Nkanyezi have all denied murdering 20-year-old Ramey at a flat on Grimesthorpe Road South, Burngreave, Sheffield, on November 16, 2020.

Stephen Wood QC, prosecuting, has claimed the case against the defendants revolves around drug dealing, gangs and guns.

However, defence barrister Gul Nawaz Hussain QC, representing Fanty, urged the jury not to use emotions to establish guilt or innocence and stressed his client’s use of drugs and any interest with guns does not make him a dealer or a murderer.

Pictured is deceased Ramey Salem, of Grimesthorpe Road, Sheffield, who died aged 20, after he was repeatedly shot at a flat on Grimesthorpe Road South, at Burngreave, Sheffield.

Mr Hussain said: “The prosecution speak of the undoubted terror Ramey Salem must have felt, ladies and gentlemen.

“That is emotive, ladies and gentlemen, and it does not help and it certainly does not help to establish guilt or innocence.”

He also said: “Your sympathy will naturally go towards Ramey Salem but it will simply not help and should not help your deliberations.”

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Three Sheffield men accused of murdering Ramey Salem in "cold-blood" decline to ...
Sheffield Crown Court, pictured, has heard during an on-going trial how three men have denied murdering Ramey Salem after a shooting in Burngreave, Sheffield.

The jury were asked by Mr Hussain to remove prejudices and perceptions of stereotypes given Fanty’s interest in Drill music which is known for its violent lyrics involving drugs, guns and knives.

Mr Hussain accepted Fanty was found to have a cling film package of crack cocaine at his home but he said there was no evidence of any big stash of drugs, large amounts of money or drug dealing related messages.

He added: “Evidence points to Jabari Fanty being a user not a dealer. We say it’s clear he’s a user - not a dealer.”

Mr Hussain said there is nothing sinister in having a fascination in guns and nothing to say Fanty had handled a firearm in this case after it had been converted from a blank-firing pistol into an illegal weapon and there were no signs of gunshot residue on him.

Footprint matches at the scene of Ramey Salem’s shooting were also disputed by Mr Hussain given the common nature of the brand of Nike trainer and size involved.

Jabari Fanty, Aaron Yanbak and another defendant, Jordan Foote, were also allegedly involved in the attempted murder of Ali al-Humakaini after he was shot at Osgathorpe Park, Burngreave, Sheffield, a month earlier on October 31, 2020.

But Mr Hussain disputed the significance of phone signals placing Fanty near to the crime scenes because he claimed he is regularly present in these areas.

He added Ali al-Humakaini had identified another person as the one who shot him but this individual has not been prosecuted and Mr al-Humakaini did not pick out Fanty as the shooter.

Mr Wood QC claimed one of two guns used in the Ramey Salem shooting had also been used in the attempted murder of Ali al-Humakaini.

He also claimed the same gun was used in a shooting on November 2, 2020, in Rotherham, after Aaron Yanbak and Ricardo Nkanyezi had allegedly been pursued.

Mr Wood further claimed the second gun used during the Ramey Salem shooting was linked to a firearms incident on October 19, 2020, at Longley Avenue West, Shirecliffe.

He also said Foote allegedly fled from a stolen BMW with others during another incident at Walkley Street before officers recovered a handgun, drugs and cash.

Police then found alleged drug dealing paraphernalia at Foote’s home and the handgun linked to the BMW was examined and possible DNA matches were linked to Fanty.

Following Fanty’s arrest, Mr Wood said he was allegedly found to have a knife, two mobile phones a ballistic vest, a baton, masks, scales with traces of drugs and Nike trainers matching a footprint from the murder scene.

Mr Wood said when Yanbak was arrested a firearms magazine was allegedly recovered and gunshot residue was found on his clothing, and Nkanyezi was allegedly found with a bag with drugs and a gun in a rucksack.

All the defendants have declined to give evidence but Mr Hussain stressed nothing should be inferred by Fanty declining to do so because it is not for him to establish his innocence but for the prosecution to establish his guilt.

Mr Hussain said: “What the prosecution have said they have given you is a jigsaw puzzle and the final pieces are obvious for you to see. But if it is a jigsaw puzzle, we say there are pieces missing.”

Fanty, aged 19, who has no previous convictions, of Broadhead Road, Stocksbridge, Sheffield; Yanbak, 20, of Abbeydale Road, Abbeydale, Sheffield; and Nkanyezi, 20, of Morgan Avenue, Parson Cross, Sheffield, have all pleaded not guilty to murder.

Foote, 20, of Basegreen Road, Basegreen, Sheffield, Fanty and Yanbak have all pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Ali al-Humakaini.

Fanty, Yanbak, Nkanyezi and Foote have also all pleaded not guilty to conspiring to possess firearms with intent to endanger life, not guilty to conspiring to possess ammunition with intent to endanger life, and not guilty to conspiring to supply class A drugs.

Fanty has also pleaded not guilty to possessing a bladed article and Nkanyezi has also pleaded not guilty to possessing a firearm.

The trial continues.