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Jail for men who shot woman in Old Kent Road

Two men who shot a woman in the back outside Virgo's nightclub in Old Kent Road have been sentenced to life in prison.

Bhamian Gayle and Robert Tate
Bhamian Gayle and Robert Tate

Bhamian Gayle, 24, and Robert Tate, 25 were sentenced at Croydon Crown Court after being found guilty of attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent. Gayle was also found guilty of grevious bodily harm.

Gayle and Tate had gone to Virgo's nightclub in the Old Kent Road on Monday 27 August 2007 looking for a DJ who was performing at the club.

Gayle had felt disrespected after a foul during a football match being played in Tottenham earlier that day escalated into an argument that he felt made him lose face.

As the pair clashed on the pitch Gayle threatened to kill him and with Tate's help immediately started to put this into plan.

At about 4.15am the woman, given the pseudonym 'Sarah Johnson', was standing outside the nightclub next to the DJ when Gayle and Tate attacked. Gayle shot five times at the DJ, missing him but hitting the woman three times and seriously injuring her. A club-goer performed first aid until the paramedics arrived and took over.

Undeterred by failure to shot the intended target, three days later Gayle and Tate armed themselves with a different gun and went in search of the DJ at Brockwell's wine bar in Norwood Road, SE24.

However they were spotted in the club by a person who recognised them from the previous incident and the football game. Police were called and Gayle and Tate were arrested nearby with a loaded gun.

Neither Gayle nor Tate admitted any of their actions or showed any remorse for their shooting of 'Sarah'. An investigation by Trident officers was able to gather enough evidence to charge them both.

Both men received public protection life sentences for each offence and have been given the following mininum tariffs before they can be considered for release: Gayle 18 years minimum
and Tate 16 years minimum.

Their deportation has also been ordered once they have served their sentence.

"The conviction of Gayle and Tate takes two very dangerous men off the streets of London, undoubtedly making it safer for everyone," says Detective Superintendent Steve Ratcliffe.

"Their perverted motive nearly killed a bystander, and undeterred by this they were willing to try again.

"'Sarah' is not the real name of the woman, but the pseudonym given to her to allow her to give evidence anonymously and a demonstration of the protection we can offer people. In giving evidence she has shown great courage and along with the witness who called police have taken these two prospective killers off the street.

"Trident officers are used to dealing with very difficult investigations, and our work does not stop when it comes to court. We will work with the CPS to protect those people who are not prepared to allow cowardly gunmen to go unchallenged.

"People expect to be able to go to nightclubs and enjoy themselves and the Metropolitan Police puts a lot of effort into making nightclubs as safe as possible.

"During 2008 the number of shootings has reduced significantly including those in and around nightclubs."

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