A man who shot a police officer in Croydon has been convicted
05 October 2012
A suspected firearms converter who attempted to murder a police officer has been convicted.
Damian Devine, 27 (8.12.84) of Allder Way, South Croydon, was today, Friday 5 October, at Kingston Crown Court found guilty, unanimously, of shooting Police Constable Wayne Stevens in Croydon on 15 July 2011.
The court heard that at about 21:00hrs on the night of 15 July, residents in Kingsdown Avenue, South Croydon, became suspicious when they noticed three men - one of whom was later identified as Devine - hanging around, taking photographs of themselves on their mobile phones
At about 22:00hrs one of the residents called 999, and as a result a police unit including PC Stevens arrived . Two of the men, one of whom dropped a mobile phone, were arrested. The mobile phone was later found to have photographs taken between 21:55 - 21:59hrs that evening.
The third man - Devine - ran off and PC Stevens gave chase. Shortly into the pursuit, and with approx 10 feet between them, Devine turned and fired two shots towards the officer.
The first shot hit the officer, and the second shot missed. PC Stevens fell to the floor and Devine made off from the scene
PC Stevens suffered a serious arm fracture and nerve damage. PC Stevens underwent two operations and later required the insertion of a plate and pins. His injuries required a bone graft and physiotherapy, and he was unable to return to work for four months.
Forensic experts who examined fragments of the bullet removed from the officers arm found that he was shot with hollow-point bullets designed to expand on impact and cause maximum damage.
Detectives from Trident launched an investigation and identified Devine as the suspect. Fast time intelligence work indicated he may have fled to Belfast where he had a brother. Met officers conducted extensive enquiries and worked closely with colleagues from the P.S.N.I. Devine was arrested in Belfast city centre on 20 July.
Officers searched a property in Dunluce Avenue, Belfast, where Devine had been hiding. Component parts of a 9mm handgun which once assembled formed a fully working Beretta self-loading pistol were found inside the address. This was confirmed by forensics as the weapon used to shoot PC Stevens.
Also found were 19 live, unfired 9mm short calibre cartridges, 11 of which were loaded were jacketed round-nose bullets, and 8 of which were hollow-point bullets.
The baseball cap Devine was wearing on the night of the shooting and other clothing were found to contain very high levels of gun powder residue.
A search of his Allder Way home in South Croydon was undertaken on 25 July. A vast quantity of firearm related items were seized including components of an Uzi sub-machine gun, fired cartridges and a laptop computer which revealed extensive internet research into firearms and their adaptation
Devine was interviewed and refused to comment. He was charged with attempting to murder PC Stevens and five associated firearms offences on 22 July 2011.
Borough Commander of Croydon, Chief Superintendent Dave Musker, said: “Devine clearly had no regard for PC Stevens’ life when he made the decision to shoot him, not once but twice. He is obviously a dangerous individual with an unhealthy interest firearms. His conviction today will see him imprisoned behind bars for a long time.
I would like to pay tribute to PC Stevens for his bravery at the time of this incident and his determination and commitment to return to work despite the devastating injuries he received. I hope that today’s verdict reassures police officers and the wider community of Croydon that we will deal with those individuals who carry and use firearms on our streets in a relentless and robust manner.”
Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Reeves, Trident Gang Command, said: “Devine is a very dangerous individual who showed no regard for the law or for public safety when he callously shot a police officer in the course of his duty. Following the shooting the Trident Gang Crime Command used all its resources and experience to identify, locate, arrest and ultimately bring Devine to justice. I am pleased that PC Stevens has made considerable progress with his recovery and I hope that today's conviction and the inevitable lengthy custodial sentence will bring some comfort to him, his family and his colleagues.”