Three men convicted over fatal stabbing in row over Bristol cannabis factory

Aranit died from his stab wounds
Aranit Lleshi suffered fatal stab wounds whilst trying to protect his crop from the rival gang Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Two men have been convicted of murdering a man during a fight over a Bristol cannabis factory, whilst a third has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Bristol Crown Court was told the group travelled from London in May 2022 to take control of the £95,000 crop, which had been grown in a terraced house on Bloomfield Road in Brislington.

Two of the group - Radian Lika and Brikel Palaj - were filmed on CCTV buying knives from a supermarket to use in the street-fight in Brislington in May last year.

Soon after, Aranit Lleshi, 32, who was also from London, suffered fatal stab wounds.

In total, £95,000 worth of drugs were found in the cannabis factory on Bloomfield Rd Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

The jury at Bristol Crown Court was told that Mr Lleshi and his brother had been growing cannabis in the house for many months.

On 24th May, a group of men including Brikel Palaj, Radian Lika, Nikola Palaj and Khastriot Mhillaj drove from London and waited in the nearby Avon Meads shopping complex.

They circled the car park as, coincidentally, Mr Lleshi and his brother shopped nearby, before the fight broke out shortly after 9pm.

Det Insp Phil Walker of the West Country's Major Crime Investigation Team, said: "It's unbelievable, really. I can't begin to understand how frightening it must have been for the witnesses that have seen that.

"A quiet residential area, the weapons that were used, the level of injuries that were caused all over some cannabis, it's incredibly frightening for them."

Mr Lleshi suffered catastrophic injuries in the fight.

His brother drove him from the scene to get to a hospital. On the way, he tried to call an ambulance but paramedics were unable to save his life.

Radian Lika and Brikel Palaj denied murder but were convicted by a jury at Bristol Crown Court this afternoon (22 March).

Nikola Palaj was convicted of manslaughter, while Khastriot Mhillaj admitted violent disorder. They are all due to be sentenced at a later date.

Stella Waata, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the CPS South West Complex Casework Unit, said: “The violence used by those involved in this incident was ferocious and must have been frightening for those that witnessed it.

"While incidents like this are rare, it shows the risk posed by organised crime groups and why we and our police partners are determined to work together to dismantle them.“They bring untold misery to our communities, and we will robustly prosecute cases, particularly those involving weapons.

"I would like to thank the local community for supporting the investigation and those who came forward as witnesses."