A jury has been shown footage of a gunman taking aim and firing at a police helicopter as it tracked suspects during last summer’s disturbances in Birmingham.
The trial of eight defendants accused or rioting in the Aston area of the city heard that the aircraft came under attack minutes after at least 12 shots were fired at officers called to an arson attack on a pub.
During the second day of his opening speech to the jury, prosecutor Andrew Lockhart QC alleged that the helicopter was shot at by 20-year-old Tyrone Laidley in the early hours of August 10 last year.
Taking jurors through CCTV footage showing a gunman raising his arms to fire into the air, Mr Lockhart told Birmingham Crown Court the helicopter had been deployed to track a “cohesive” group of men who fled following the earlier shooting.
After watching footage of the group from cameras sited in Victoria Road and Frederick Road, the jury was shown images of a man firing towards the police helicopter. Mr Lockhart told the jury that footage from a land-based camera showed a “muzzle flash”, proving that the weapon was fired.
Describing the earlier incident late on August 9 in which police came under fire while responding to a petrol bomb attack at the Bartons Arms, Mr Lockhart said they were initially pelted with bricks, steel tubes and furniture.
Mr Lockhart told the court: “As many as four guns were present. Scientific evidence confirms that. Some of the officers describe bricks and chairs being thrown at them in that initial incident. Then they heard shots begin to ring out.”
The Crown alleges that the officers had been “lured” into the area by the pre-planned arson attack.
Laidley, of Chadsmoor Terrace, Nechells, Birmingham; Nicholas Francis, 26, of Thetford Road, Great Barr, Birmingham; Joyah Campbell, 19, of Hanover Court, Aston; Wayne Collins, 25, of Ouseley Close, Luton, Bedfordshire; Renardo Farrell, 20, of The Terrace, Finchfield, Wolverhampton; Jermaine Lewis, 27, of Summerton Road, Oldbury, West Midlands; and two 17-year-old youths all deny riot and violent disorder.
The youths, who cannot be named for legal reasons but are from the Aston area, and the adult defendants further deny charges of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.