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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Michael Ricketts was stabbed, battered and shot dead by at least three men who chased him into the Shahjahan Indian restaurant

Michael Rungen starts his life sentence, the detective whose team brought him to justice, Det Supt Steve Payne vowed to maintain the hunt for those who pulled the trigger and finally ended the life of Yardie gangster Rohan Ricketts after two previous assassination attempts."We will not give up pursuing the other two gunmen. We will not tolerate gun crime," Det Supt Payne said today.
When Ricketts was stabbed, battered and shot dead by at least three men who chased him into the Shahjahan Indian restaurant on Roundhay Road, the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team faced an uphill battle to identify those responsible.There was little to go on. Everybody including witnesses and the gunmen had fled. There began a painstaking enquiry to piece together the events of the evening of April 20 2007.
Ricketts had spent the previous four hours with Carol Harvey just yards from the take-away restaurant in Bayswater Terrace off Roundhay Road, Harehills. He left, it is believed to deal drugs, but returned each time.About 11pm he got out of bed, donned a duffle coat over his bare chest and Carol's flip-flops to make his regular trip to the Shahjahan to get a chicken and chips supper. As he left the restaurant he was confronted by three masked men armed with a knife and two semi-automatic pistols – a 9mm converted Russian-made Bailkal gas gun and a .32 calibre CBC.
The gunmen fired two shots at Ricketts outside the restaurant, some hitting the wall. Ricketts ran inside the take-away pursued by at least two of his attackers.
Cornered, he vaulted the counter in a bid to escape, while the restaurant's owner and a kitchen worker took refuge in a store room.One gunman leapt to the counter top while an accomplice kicked open a counter connecting door and attacked from the side. Ricketts was stabbed in the neck, hit over the head with a frying pan and shot in the chest – the killer bullet exiting his back. Four shots were fired inside the restaurant.Footage from local CCTV cameras was seized and this brought the first breakthrough. Film from a local shop – Bobby's Sweets – showed three men getting out of a dark coloured car in Bayswater Row, a short distance down Roundhay Road. Two were putting weapons in their pockets.This crucial film now drove the inquiry. Officers began detailed research to establish the make, colour and year of the car, while others scrutinised the images of the three men to formulate descriptions.
The car looked like an Astra and Vauxhall.It was a Mark Five produced after 2004 and its wheel trims suggest it was either an 'Expression' or 'Life' trim version and almost new.Several hundred were registered in this area and dealers were contacted including the hire firm 1 Car 1 of Kirkstall, Leeds.Michael Patrick Rungen had rented such a vehicle on March 24 and returned it on April 24.Forensic examination of the Astra's interior found – despite the detailed valeting it had undergone – significant firearms residue and also milk protein. During the shooting small pots of yoghurt used as condiments at the Shahjahan had been spilled and this transferred to the Astra.When he hired the car, Rungen gave his family's home address in Markham Avenue – not his in Weston Drive, Otley, and a mobile phone number. A search of the Markham Avenue house recovered a latex glove containing three rare unfired .32 calibre home-loaded bullets identical to some used at the Shahjahan attack. This was crucial evidence.Less conventional, but equally compelling evidence, came from detailed examination of the CCTV footage of the suspected killers. The car driver was considerably shorter than the others and was bow legged.Film of Rungen caught earlier was shown to top Harley Street podiatrist Haydn Kelly. The ankle and foot expert confirmed the person in both footages was quite short and had a "peculiar stance and gate". Rungen is 5ft 7in tall and had been given 10 years for robbery at Leeds Crown Court in March 1998.Checks on Rungen's mobile showed that it had been operating in the area near to the shooting on the night of the killing.These items were among evidence which finally led to Rungen being charged with Ricketts' murder on April 17 this year.The motive for the killing is suspected to be territorial infighting between Yardies from Jamaica and local gangs


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