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

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.
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.

Three men shot dead a 23-year-old with a ‘Dirty Harry’ style gun in a drive-by shooting in broad daylight on a Sheffield street, a court heard.

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.

Opening the case at Sheffield Crown Court, prosecutor, David Brooke QC told jurors that while only one bullet was fired, it is the Crown’s case that Cohen, Gordon and Bryan murdered Mr Al-Essaie as part of a ‘joint enterprise’.

Mr Brooke told the court that Mr Al-Essaie’s brother, Ali, witnessed the shooting.

Ali claims he had an altercation with Cohen moments before the shooting at 1.32pm that day, as the two men passed each other as they drove in cars travelling in opposite directions on Daniel Hill.

He said Cohen, who was known to him, shouted obscenities at him as he drove past in a VW Golf with one front-seat passenger and one back-seat passenger.

Ali said the VW Golf travelled up Daniel Hill a short time after he had seen his brother travelling in the same direction.

Mr Brooke said: “As Ali drove down the hill, he saw in the rear mirror that the VW Golf had pulled up behind his brother’s car and was beeping its horn.

“Aseel waved to gesture for the Golf to drive past.

“Being concerned there might be trouble, Ali turned his car around by reversing into a side street.”

He added: “Ali then saw the long barrel of a revolver gun come from the passenger side of the Golf, and after some gesturing he heard a gun shot.”

Mr Brooke said the gunshot wound, believed to have been shot from a ‘Dirty Harry-style long-barrelled gun’, penetrated Mr Al-Essaie’s lung, heart and abdomen.

He died in hospital shortly after.

The Crown allege that Cohen, of Bramwell Close, Netherthorpe, was driving, while Gordon, of Mather Road, Darnall, was the front-seat passenger, and Bryan, of Brackley Street, Pitsmoor was the back-seat passenger.

Mr Brooke said: "On Ali's account, from what he could see of the incident, in all likelihood, the gun had been fired by the front-seat passenger, Dale Gordon."

Following the shooting, the VW Golf was driven seven miles from the scene to Rough Lane, Grenoside, where it was burnt out.

Four other defendants are also standing trial for crimes connected to Mr Al-Essaie’s murder.

James Good, 32, of Velocity Towers, St Mary’s Gate, is accused of helping Cohen to burn out the VW Golf, in a bid to destroy the evidence.

Good and Cohen have both been charged with perverting the course of justice, in relation to this.

Cohen’s mother, Patricia Sharp, 58, of Bramwell Close, Netherthorpe is also charged with perverting the course of justice.

Sharp was the last registered owner of the VW Golf that was allegedly used in Mr Al-Essaie's murder.

Mr Brooke said Sharp told police she had sold the vehicle three months before Mr Al-Essaie's murder, 'to or via someone called Hussain,' but could not provide any paperwork to corroborate this.

He added: "As events unfolded, and the CCTV was recovered and so on showing her son driving the car on the morning of the shooting, it became obvious that she had lied to the police to assist her son and given false information about its whereabouts."

Brothers, Razwan Mirza, 35, and Mohammed Mirza, 30, both of Staniforth Road, Darnall, are charged with assisting an offender.

"The prosecution case is that, together with his brother Mohammed, Razwan arranged for the pick-up of the three principal defendants in their vehicle and later drove them to Good's house in Sheffield," said Mr Brooke.

The defendants deny all charges.

The trial, which is expected to last six weeks, continues.