Men accused of murder deny being passengers in car involved in Sheffield drive-by shooting

Aseel Al-Essaie
Aseel Al-Essaie

Two men accused of murdering a Sheffield man in a drive-by shooting have denied being passengers in the in the car from which the fatal shot was fired.

Matthew Cohen, aged 29, Dale Gordon, 33 and Keil Bryan, 32, are alleged to have fatally shot Aseel Al-Essaie at ‘point blank range’ as he sat alone in a Mercedes car parked on Daniel Hill, Upperthorpe, on February 18 last year.

Aseel Al-Essaie was murdered in Daniel Hill, Upperthorpe on February 18 last year

Aseel Al-Essaie was murdered in Daniel Hill, Upperthorpe on February 18 last year

The Crown allege that Cohen, Gordon and Bryan killed Mr Al-Essaie,23, as part of a joint enterprise, and were all present in a VW Golf vehicle involved in the drive-by shooting that was carried out in broad daylight.

Giving evidence last week, Cohen told jurors he was driving the VW Golf that the single shot which killed Mr Al-Essaie was fired from - but claimed his front seat passenger was the killer.

He said neither he or the back seat passenger had any idea the murder was going to take place.

READ MORE: 'The killer was my front seat passenger but I won't name him,' murder accused tells Sheffield Crown Court

But Cohen said he would not name the killer front seat passenger or the back seat passenger ‘under any circumstances’.

Summing up the evidence today, Judge Stephen Males relayed how Gordon and Bryan both denied murdering Mr Al-Essaie and both said they were not passengers in Cohen’s car at the time of the murder.

Judge Males said Gordon and Bryan, of Brackley Street, Pitsmoor had also exercised their right not to give evidence because they both claimed the prosecution case against them was so ‘weak’.

In the case of Gordon, Judge Males told the court how Gordon believed his attempt to undermine the prosecution case against him was further strengthened by police evidence.

Judge Males told the court this related to CCTV evidence that the Crown Prosecution Service claimed linked Gordon with his co-defendants in the hours following Mr Al-Essaie’s murder.

He relayed how the figure in the CCTV footage alleged to be Gordon was identified as a different man by two separate police officers, who had previous dealings with him.

READ MORE: Trio used 'Dirty Harry-style' gun to murder Sheffield man in drive-by shooting, court told

James Good, 32, of Velocity Towers, St Mary’s Gate was also standing trial accused of one count of perverting the course of justice, relating to the destruction of Cohen’s VW Golf in the hours following Mr Al-Essaie’s murder.

He changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on Tuesday.

Cohen also admitted involvement in the destruction of the vehicle when he changed his plea to guilty for the same offence last week.

Cohen, Bryan and Gordon, of Mather Road, Darnall all deny one count of murder.

The jury were sent out to consider their verdict earlier this afternoon.

The trial continues.