Rushden attempted murder trial: Two found guilty

Two men been found guilty of blasting a man in the back with a shotgun on a Rushden street

Two men been found guilty of blasting a man in the back with a shotgun on a Rushden street

Two men who attempted to kill a bricklayer in an early-morning shotgun attack in Rushden have been told they face “substantial” prison terms.

Masimba Tinofirei, 19, and Narinder Sondhi, 36, were convicted of attempted murder by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court following a two-week trial.

The pair blasted bricklayer Kevin Phillips in the back with a 12-bore shotgun in a terrifying early-morning attack in Rushden in July last year.

Both denied being the attackers but were convicted after being connected to the incident by CCTV footage and mobile phone evidence.

Detectives also found balaclavas and gloves in their homes similar to those worn by the attackers described by Mr Phillips.

Judge Simon Drew QC adjourned the case until October 13 for sentence and ordered pre-sentence reports to establish if the pair, both from Rushden, posed a risk of harm in the future.

A third man, Calvin Scott, also 19, of no fixed address, was convicted of perverting the course of justice.

He disposed of a silver Renault Megane used by Tinofirei and Sondhi in the attack.

Judge Drew said: “The real issue for the pre-sentence reports would be one of dangerousness.

“In the circumstances, in relation to the first two defendants I have to address that issue and it seems right and proper there should be a pre-sentence report addressing that question.

“As far as offences of this sort are concerned it will be a quite substantial custodial sentence.”

During the trial the jury heard Mr Phillips was walking with a friend, Russell Danes, in Hayway at about 6am on July 5.

CCTV from a nearby house captured the pair talking before, off camera, a car was heard to pull up.

An argument followed before a gunshot rang out.

Giving evidence Mr Phillips described grappling with one of the masked attackers, who told the second man to “blow him away”.

As he ran Mr Phillips was shot from behind, suffering injuries to the back of his head, the side of his face and his back.

Tinofirei, of Maple Road, and Sondhi, of The Hedges, then fled in the Renault Megane leaving Mr Phillips bleeding on the ground.

Tinofirei was arrested later that day and Sondhi the following day.

Mobile phone evidence showed the pair had been in contact in the hours leading up to the attack and after.

But during crucial times when the prosecution say they were together planning and carrying out the hit, there were no calls or texts between the two.

Opening the case, Vincent Coughlin QC said; “The prosecution are not able to prove the reason for the attack.

“The Crown’s case is Masimba Tinofirei and Narinder Sondhi attempted to murder Keith Phillips.

“They had taken a firearm and taken steps to disguise themselves because they were fully aware of the gravity of what they intended to do.”

The Renault Megane was discovered ablaze near Chelveston Airfield on July 7.

Mobile phone evidence linked Sondhi and Scott to the disposal of the vehicle.

Scott also faces sentence for unrelated drugs charges.