Sandwell man has jail sentence for his part in a man's death increased following appeal by WMP

A man convicted for his part in the death of a West Bromwich man has had his sentence increased by four and half years following an appeal by West Midlands Police.

Colin Raymond Cooke, aged 62, was jailed in May this year after he was convicted of conspiracy to rob and assisting an offender in connection with the death of 64-year-old Ronald Smith at his West Bromwich home on 6 May 2015.

He was originally sentenced to serve seven years in prison.

Yesterday (Thursday) officers travelled to the Royal Courts of Justice in London to appeal against the sentence, which was quashed and a new jail term given of 10 years for conspiracy to rob and 18 months for assisting an offender to run consecutively- a total of 11 and a half years in prison.

Colin Cooke’s son, Paul Cooke, was jailed for almost 30 years in September 2016 after admitting fatally stabbing Ronald Smith, the day after he was released from prison.

His other son Colin Cooke Jnr was jailed for 30 months after being found guilty of assisting an offender.

Ronald Cooke’s body was discovered at his home in Cottage walk four weeks after his death after neighbours raised the alarm. Cooke had killed Mr Smith before stealing £600 cash and locking the door with a key as he made off in the hope the body would remain undetected.

Officers were however convinced 34-year old Cooke didn’t act alone and further enquiries led detectives to arrest his father Colin Cooke, a friend of Ronald Smith and his brother Colin Cooke in connection with the robbery.

Detective Sergeant Angela Baggott from the force’s homicide unit, said: “Officers felt the sentence originally given to Cooke was unduly lenient and we are pleased that the Judge at today’s hearing has recognised this.”

DS Baggott has also renewed her appeal for help in tracing another person that police believe was involved in the fatal attack and stressed the murder case remains open.

She said: “This investigation is still live: we know another offender was present at the time and I urge anyone with information that could help us identify this person to come forward.

“Innocent people can be eliminated from our enquiries through forensic evidence found at the scene − and indeed my officers have already spoken to and ruled out almost 250 people. Someone out there knows who else was involved and I would ask them to look into their conscience and provide a name.

“Paul Cooke has been told he will spend almost 30 years behind bars… but he should not be serving this murder sentence alone.

“The search for the second person continues and I would urge anyone who suspects someone they know was involved in this killing to call West Midlands Police. Mr Smith’s family will not have complete closure until that person is found.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the force’s Investigation Review Team on the 101 number, or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Appeal: Help us trace liquid attacker who shouted “I’ve got acid” 

A man shouted “I’ve got acid” before squirting what’s thought to be cleaning fluid in the face of a drinker outside a Solihull pub.

Detectives have released clear CCTV images of the attacker who leapt from a car in Main Street, Dickens Heath, on Tuesday night before firing liquid from a bottle at a group of people outside The Chalice.

The substance hit one man in the face before the thug was driven away by an accomplice; the victim splashed water over his face and escaped unhurt.

Investigating officer PC Dave Spencer, from Solihull Police’s Investigation Team, urged anyone who recognises the man to get in touch.

He said: “Given the recent spate of acid attacks in London this was a hugely irresponsible act and very scary for the victim. The attacker shouted ‘I’ve got acid’ but we believe it was actually an ammonia-based cleaning fluid.

“The victim was wearing glasses which prevented the substance going into his eyes and he reacted quickly by picking up a dog bowl of water and throwing it over his face. He didn’t report feeling any burning sensation and was thankfully unhurt.

“It’s understood the attacker was in a car being driven anti-socially in Main Street and, when the group shouted for them to slow down, the pair jumped out and confronted them.

“We need to know who this man is and I’d urge anyone with information to contact me on the 101 number or call Crimestoppers anonymously.”

The attacker – who struck at around 8pm on Tuesday – was dressed in a blue T-shirt, beige shorts, shoes and with a ‘man bag’ across his shoulder; he has dark hair, a closely cropped beard and is believed to be in his 20s.

Meanwhile, West Midlands Police have arrested a man suspected of driving the car, seized a vehicle and also recovered a bottle containing a clear liquid.

A 21-year-old man from Solihull has been charged with a public order offence and is due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on 16 August.

Anyone who believes they recognise the attacker is asked to contact PC Spencer via 101 (ext: 891 3092) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Trio convicted over drive-by killing of Black Country dad

Three men have been convicted of carrying out a drive-by shooting in which a Black Country dad died in a hail of bullets.

Father-of-one Carl Campbell was ambushed as he sat in a car at traffic lights in Dartmouth Street, West Bromwich, on 27 December last year.

(Carl Campbell)

Gunman Mohammed Humza, aged 19, fired five shots at the Ford Fiesta in which Mr Campbell was a passenger; one of the bullets ricocheted off the dashboard into the 33-year-old’s head and killed him instantly.

Humza (middle) was sped from the scene in a stolen Audi Q5 by getaway driver Vikesh Chauhan, aged 24, with co-conspirator Jaspal Rai in the front passenger seat.

They were seen by a witness laughing, smiling and appearing “quite happy with themselves” as they dumped the Audi across town in Kiniths Crescent.

However, West Midlands Police officers had already flooded the area having been alerted to the shooting over police airwaves − and both Humza and Chauhan (left) were arrested as they tried running out of the residential cul-de-sac.

Both men were detained within just 10 minutes of the killing, while 24-year-old Rai (right) was arrested by Belgian police on 8 January 24 hours after he skipped the UK in a failed bid to seek refuge on the Continent.

(Pictured L-R: Chauhan, Humza, Rai)

Two spent bullet cartridges fell from folds in Humza’s jacket as officers searched him in the street and another casing was later found in his pocket.

Humza was seen discarding items as he fled and an extensive search of gardens near the abandoned Audi uncovered a Smith & Wesson revolver, a sheathed knife and gloves.

Forensic tests on Humza’s jacket revealed high levels of gunshot residue, while his DNA was found on the knife and the black gloves − significant as a witness described the shooter wearing black gloves when they pulled the trigger.

Chauhan’s DNA was found on the driver’s door handle and steering wheel of the Audi, while Rai’s fingerprints were found in the car and his DNA on another glove found in nearby Dagger Lane.

Both claimed they had no idea Humza was armed with a loaded revolver and played no part in a murder conspiracy.

However, a jury at Birmingham Crown Court didn’t believe them and today 20 July Chauhan and Rai were found guilty of the joint enterprise murder alongside Humza, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

They will be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court next Tuesday.

Lead investigating officer, Detective Inspector Jim Munro, said: “The motive for the killing is still not clear − but what we can say definitively is that together they intended to kill or cause really serious injury to Carl Campbell.

“Chauhan and Rai pleaded ignorance − but Humza would not just produce and use a loaded gun and shoot someone in front of people who were not in on the plan and whom he could not trust; he would be taking a huge risk to do so.

“He counted on their support and assistance…and that’s what he got. This was a joint venture between the three; the gun was in Humza’s hands but the others knew about it and that it was to be used to shoot and kill. In essence, they were all in joint possession of the gun on that fateful day.

“I am happy for the victim’s family that the jury has returned this verdict and hopefully they can take some comfort from the fact the killers will spend much of their lives behind bars.”

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Detectives granted further time to question Coventry woman on suspicion of terrorism offences

Detectives have been granted further time to question an 18-year-old Coventry woman who was arrested yesterday (Tuesday 18 July) on suspicion of terrorism offences.

The woman was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism.

She continues to be questioned by West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit at a police station in the West Midlands.

Detectives have up to seven days before charging, releasing, bailing or applying to court for a further extension of detention.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Police appeal for witnesses to Northfield collision

Police are appealing for witnesses to this morning’s collision in Northfield (Wednesday 19 July) to come forward.

The crash happened at the junction with Shenley Lane around 6am between a Corsa and a Jaguar.

The 20-year-old female driver of the Corsa was taken to hospital with serious injuries while the driver of the Jaguar was unharmed. He continues to assist collision investigators with their enquiries.

The road remained closed while emergency services were at the scene.

Detective Sergeant Paul Hughes, from the regional Collision Investigation Unit, said: “We are asking anyone who saw what happened to contact us. This is a busy junction and, although it was early, I am sure there were other motorists on the road at that time.”

Witnesses should contact DS Hughes on [email protected] or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

CCTV released in bid to trace stabbing suspect

A CCTV image has been released of a man police would like to speak to in connection with a stabbing on Moor Street Queensway near to the bus stops yesterday evening (Monday 17 July).

A 19-year-old man was stabbed twice in his bicep and armpit causing serious injury which will require surgery. He continues to recover in hospital.

Detective Inspector Tom Hadley, from Force CID, said: “The man we are looking for is black and has a distinctive hairstyle. He has long afro hair worn in two buns high on either side of his head. He was wearing a light coloured hoodie and carrying a ‘manbag’.

“We understand that the suspect was arguing with the victim and we are sure that there are witnesses to the attack who have not yet come forward.

“I would ask anyone with information to contact us on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Coventry woman arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences

An 18-year-old Coventry woman has been arrested today (Tuesday 18 July) on suspicion of terrorism offences.

The woman was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism.

She is being questioned by West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit at a police station in the West Midlands.

The arrest was pre-planned and intelligence-led; there was no risk to the public.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Detective Academy: “Hero” cop who tackled mosque knifeman set for new investigator role

A West Midlands Police officer hailed a hero for protecting mosque worshippers from a knifeman is set for a new career as a detective after passing the National Investigators exam with flying colours.

Adam Koch won a prestigious bravery award for tackling Mohamoud Elmi as he lunged at members of the congregation at Madrassa Qasim Ul Uloom centre, Washwood Heath, with a commando-style knife in June 2013.

Despite suffering stab injuries to his side and stomach Adam managed to wrestle the 32-year-old to the ground, prise the knife from his grasp and, with the help of colleague PC Jean Stevens, restrain him until police back-up arrived.

Working as part of a response unit, attending emergency incidents across the region, Adam was the first officer on the scene that night.

But Police Constable Koch is all set to become Detective Constable Koch after the 35-year-old ranked among the best performing candidates in last month’s ‘gold standard’ investigators exam in UK policing.

Adam’s score of 87 per cent placed him 13th nationally out of almost 1,000 officers.

He said: “By chance, about two weeks before the stabbing, I’d spoken to my wife about applying for different roles in the police. I’d worked as a response officer for six years and wanted to broaden my skills and experience.

“To some degree the emergency call to the mosque facilitated that change of career path because when I returned to work I joined an Investigation Team, away from the front line, while I continued my rehabilitation.

“I really enjoyed the role and took on some interesting cases. You don’t get the adrenaline rush of being a response officer but it’s hugely satisfying ‘cracking’ a case and securing evidence against offenders that leads to convictions…and justice for victims.

“I’m now working as a detective in a child abuse team. It’s not for everyone – we work with some shocking, upsetting photographic evidence – but there can be no greater motivation to track down abusers and protect youngsters.”

Mosque knifeman Elmi was charged with two counts of attempted murder but a jury accepted a plea of not guilty on the grounds of insanity. He was instead detained indefinitely in a secure mental health facility and will only ever be released if experts deem him no longer a danger to the public.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Men charged with earring robberies in broad daylight

Two Sandwell men have been charged with two separate robberies of earrings which were snatched from the ears of two women.

Inderjit Singh Dhaliwal, of Bearwood Road, Smethwick, was charged with robbery after he allegedly ripped the earrings from a woman walking on the High Street in Smethwick on Friday 26 May.

On Friday 14 July, the 40-year-old appeared at Dudley Magistrates Court, where he was remanded in custody. He is next due to appear at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Friday 11 August.

Iqbal Singh, of Dorsett Road in Wednesbury, was also charged with robbery after he allegedly ripped the gold earrings from a woman’s ears in West Bromwich town centre on Monday 3 July.

He appeared at Dudley Magistrates Court two days after on Wednesday 5 July where he was remanded in custody. The 45-year-old is due to appear at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Wednesday 2 August.

Officers are advising members of the public to be mindful of their jewellery and to report any suspicious behaviour to police on 101.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Family of Dan Baird appeal for information to catch his killer

The family of a man who was fatally stabbed outside a Digbeth pub have issued an emotional plea for information to help catch his killer.

Daniel, known to his family as Dan, died after he was stabbed outside The Forge Tavern in the early hours of Saturday 8 July.

Dan’s brother Tom Baird and sisters Holly Baird and Kerry Sheehan have issued an appeal in the hope that someone will come forward with information.

The family said: “Dan had so many friends. He was set to start a new job this week at Jaguar Land Rover and was looking forward to it.

“This has devastated us as a family and for hundreds of others who knew Dan. Our mum and dad can’t even bring themselves to leave the house.

“We haven’t got our Dan anymore, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“If this had happened to another family then Dan would have been the first person to come forward and help… Please, if you have information then come forward, not coming forward because you are scared will not end this violence.

“If you have a heart please come forward – put yourself in our shoes.”

Dan’s girlfriend, Gemma Morris, has also paid tribute, she said: “Me and Dan had a future – we had saved for a new house, we had planned for a lovely wedding and to start a family of our own and now the person who has done this has took that away from us.

“Not only was Dan the love of my life, he was also my best friend and soul mate…Not only has the person who took Dan’s life away, that person has also took mine and both of our families too… I will never be able to move on from this so please come forward as we all need justice for Dan.”

The pub has been temporarily shut down as police continue to investigate Dan’s murder and the leading officer in the case has re-inforced his appeal for information today.

Detective Inspector Harry Harrison said: “We are in the early stages of our investigation and we are trying to identify everyone that was in the Forge Tavern on that night.

“We know that there were around 60 to 100 people there at the time. The vast majority of the people would have been having a good time and must have been shocked at what unfolded.

“A small minority group became involved in a running brawl outside the pub and those are the people we need to clearly identify.

“We are urging anyone at the pub to pick up the phone and ring us and tell us what they saw.”

Source:: West Midlands Police News