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  1. ITV Report

Coventry gang members convicted of fatal robbery

Three gang members are facing lengthy jail terms after killing a businessman as he delivered mobile phones to a Coventry shop.

Ali Jawaid was ambushed outside Benzer Communications on November 9 2011, by the men who made off with his van and its £13,000 cargo of phones and accessories.

Two of the group ambushed Mr Jawaid – 24-year-old Gregg Robertson and 25-year-old Glenroy Blackstock, who fatally attacking him with a metal bar.

The deadly robbery had been instigated by 27-year-old Shaun Mills who went into Benzer Communications on Sewell Highway to exchange his BlackBerry handset at around 6pm.

Moments later Mills left the store to make a series of phone calls to his associates who, over the space of 30 minutes, made their way to the vicinity of Benzer Communications.

When Mr Jawaid later left the store, he was set upon by Robertson and Blackstock who hit him over the head with the metal bar, snatched the van's keys and sped off.

He would later die in hospital, six days after the robbery, having suffered a fractured skull.

The group drove in convoy through the north of Coventry, eventually dumping the van down a remote farmer's track near Hawkesbury, Warwickshire where they plundered its contents.

Police later found the van's burnt out shell surrounded by empty boxes and phone batteries.

West Midlands Police launched a high-profile enquiry and identified some of their key suspects within days of the attack.

This was a case where the co-defendants all played an active part – be it in the attack, the robbery or the handling. It was all motivated by their greed and the opportunity to part Mr Jawaid from his livelihood. It was planned and premeditated.

– Detective Sergeant Gerrard Amadeo from West Midlands Police's Major Investigation Team

Mills pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery during the trial, accepting that he was a pivotal part of the plan, whilst Blackstock also admitted both offences.

But whilst the prosecution accepted Robertson's guilty plea for handling, they rejected his manslaughter plea, instead pursuing a charge of murder, as it was he who used the metal bar to hit Mr Jawaid.

However, a jury at Warwick Justice Centre today (5 April) found him not guilty of murder and so his guilty plea for manslaughter was accepted.

A fourth defendant, Ryan McTighe (26), admitted a robbery charge as part of the plot, whilst two other men – 22-year-old Lee Taylor and 23-year-old Liberato Galiazia – admitted handling stolen goods. A seventh man – 26-year-old Nigel Barwell – was today found guilty of handling stolen goods.

McTighe was arrested on November 10 at Birmingham Airport where officers seized his mobile phone and around £1,300 in cash. Armed police arrested Mills at gun point three days later having been spotted driving an Audi A3.

Other members of the group were captured in the following weeks as the investigation gathered pace.

It does provide some comfort and closure that the offenders who committed this cowardly act of violence in order to steal have been brought to bear and prosecuted for their actions.

However it is Ali's wife, children and the rest of his family and friends who have been left with the life sentence as we will have to continue each day knowing we will ever see Ali again.

– The family of Ali Jawaid