Man jailed after pub DJ shot 20 years ago.
Byline: Paul Beard Court Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
A MAN who shot a former Coventry pub DJ in the face 20 years ago, leaving him with a bullet lodged in his brain, has been cleared of attempted murder.
Anthony Stephens was also found not guilty of wounding victim Darren Smith with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm - but guilty of a less serious charge of unlawful wounding.
Stephens, aged 48, of Cranberry Road, Tile Cross, Birmingham, was jailed for three years following the trial at Warwick Crown Court, after a previous jury had been unable to reach verdicts.
Although the shooting at the Plough pub in London Road, Coventry, took place in 1996 Stephens was not arrested until 17 years later after he moved to Dublin.
He was picked up after landing at Birmingham Airport when he flew back from Dublin in November 2013 . The court heard that in October 1996 it had become the practice to have lock-ins at the Plough, which has since closed as a pub.
Prosecutor Stephen Linehan QC said that on the night of the shooting Stephens, who had just left the Birmingham Outlaws motorcycle gang prior to moving to Dublin, turned up at around 6am with three members of the Coventry Outlaws.
They were let in by Mr Smith, who was working as a DJ during the lock-in, but were later told to leave following an argument at the bar.
Outside one of them began damaging a car on the car park and when Mr Smith opened the door and threw a glass towards them Stephens levelled a handgun at him and fired.
The bullet entered his nasal passage and went into his brain.
Without waiting for an ambulance Mr Smith was rushed to hospital by car and underwent an operation to save his life.
The bullet is still lodged in his brain and he has suffered life-changing effects including a loss of peripheral vision and short-term memory problems.
Giving evidence Mr Smith, who said he has only now tried to resume a law degree he was studying for at the time, pointed at the dock, declaring: "I know it was him who shot me, definitely."
After the jury's verdicts the court heard Stephens had numerous previous convictions,
all many years ago, including wounding in 1989, wounding with intent in 1990 and possessing a sawn-off shotgun in the late 1980s for which he was given four years youth custody. Elizabeth Marsh QC, defending, said: "He is now the man Your Honour would have hoped he would become after any sentence imposed in 1996. He's a married man, a father of a nine-year-old son, a step-father, and has a business and a mortgage and leads a conventional family life." Jailing Stephens, Judge Richard Grif-fith-Jones told him: "You went along as a group of four to a public house where there was late-night drinking. You yourself had been drinking, and in your pocket you had a loaded pistol. "The purpose of the gun was to give you self-confidence, as you demonstrated when there was trouble inside. Your degree of self-confidence was fortified by the knowledge that you had a lethal weapon in your pocket. "It was one of your companions that caused you four to have to leave. As a result, trouble erupted on the car park, and there was
| Police investigating the shooting and (below) Anthony Stephens
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|Publication:||Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)|
|Date:||Apr 27, 2016|
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