Brunel University student ‘tried to kill man who was threatening friend in a shooting involving a sawn-off shotgun’

A 22-year-old university student tried to kill someone who was “threatening” his friend, in a shooting involving a sawn-off shotgun and a handgun, a jury heard on Monday.

Michael Omitiran had received a text message from his friend Billy Merryweather, who had spotted a van parked across the road from his home, prosecutors said.

The student, who was studying at Brunel University in West London at the time, told the 21-year-old to pick him up and together they drove to the scene in Slough, prosecutors said.

Jurors at Reading Crown Court saw CCTV footage of just after 9pm on March 26, which showed two masked figures approaching the white transit on Wentworth Avenue, in the Britwell Estate.

One of the figures, on reaching the passenger window, turned to their right immediately and a flash could be seen in the footage as well as the window glass shattering, which the prosecution say was Merryweather firing the shotgun.

Alan Blake, prosecuting, said: “These two defendants are charged with attempting to murder Malamin Sarr. It is alleged on March 26 this year, they tried to kill Mr Sarr by shooting at him at point-blank range with a sawn-off shotgun as he sat in the passenger seat of a white Transit van.

“The shot entered his body through his left shoulder and lodged in his chest. Somewhat remarkably, it missed all his vital organs and structures and was later removed at Wexham Park Hospital.

“The Crown allege this was a deliberate and targeted shooting of Mr Sarr and although only one of these defendants pulled the trigger, the two plainly acted together with the joint intention of trying to kill Mr Sarr.”

Mr Sarr, 26, known as ‘Manz’, had recently been released from a prison sentence before the shooting, jurors were told, and had refused to co-operate with the police investigation into his shooting.

The victim had been parked outside Merryweather’s home address since just before 4pm, the court heard, in a spot which would have been visible to anyone in the defendant’s home.

Merryweather and Omitiran had said nothing after they had been arrested after police obtained CCTV evidence and phone records, which seemed to show Merryweather had texted Omitiran before the shooting to say: “Manz went my girl’s yard looking for man”.

The prosecutor, who said police investigators had met a “wall of silence”, added: “Two of the phone handsets associated with two of the defendants suggested that they were involved together in the illicit supply of drugs in Slough.

“The van and its occupants, the Crown suggest, would have been sitting outside there for five hours in plain sight.

“You may infer that the presence of the vehicle, just across the road, for several hours was a deliberate and rather sinister threat.”

Merryweather, of Wentworth Avenue, Slough, and Omitiran, now aged 23 years and of Webb Close in Slough, both deny attempted murder, possessing a firearm with into to endanger life and having a firearm or imitation firearm with criminal intent.

The trial continues.

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