Bringing people to justice and protecting victims of crime - Charged and In Court 2023
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Across 2023, our response and investigation teams have continuously worked to bring offenders before the courts, to protect and get answers for victims of crime and to support and reassure our local communities.
Here we look back at just some of our investigations which led to a conviction in court during 2023 including murderers being jailed, rapist and sexual offenders facing justice, drugs gangs being uncovered and dangerous drivers being brought before the courts.
Thank you to everyone who has helped us and supported us in our investigations throughout the year.
Four jailed for ‘cold-blooded’ murder after car rammed off road in high-speed chase
Four people were jailed in August after being found guilty of the “callous and cold-blooded” murder of two men after their car was rammed off a dual carriageway during a high-speed chase.
Saqib Hussain and Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin, both 21, died instantly when their vehicle was rammed off the A46 near Six Hills, Leicestershire, during the early hours of 11 February last year crashing into a central reservation barrier and a tree.
Mr Hussain, who was a passenger in the car, had made a 999 call just seconds earlier stating they were being chased by people in balaclavas, being rammed off the road and that they were going to die.
Following a 15-week trial at Leicester Crown Court, Ansreen Bukhari, Mahek Bukhari, Raees Jamal and Rekan Karwan were all found guilty of the murders of Saqib Hussain and Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin.
Sanaf Gulamustafa, Ameer Jamal and Natasha Akhtar were found not guilty of murder but were found guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Hussain and Mr Ijazuddin.
Top row from left to right: Ansreen Bukhari, Mahek Bukhari, Raees Jamal, Rekan Karwan
Bottom row from left to right: Sanaf Gulamustafa, Ameer Jamal and Natasha Akhtar
Senior Investigating Officer in the case, Detective Inspector Mark Parish said: “This was a callous and cold-blooded attack which ultimately cost two men their lives.
“My thoughts remain with Mr Hussain and Mr Ijazuddin and their families. This has been an extremely difficult and heart-breaking time for both families. They have not only had to come to terms with losing a family member in the most horrific way but have then had to hear extremely distressing details of this in court, waiting for justice to be done. My heartfelt thanks go to them for their bravery, support and co-operation throughout this time.”
Man who murdered partner convicted of rape and assault offences against other women
A man convicted of the murder of his partner was sentenced to a further 12 years imprisonment after being found guilty of multiple counts of rape and assault against two other women.
Frank Farrell, 38, was found guilty in December 2021 of the murder of Smita Mistry following a trial. Farrell had killed Ms Mistry at her home before reporting to police that she had slipped in the bath. He was sentenced on 16 December 2021 to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 24 years.
Court restrictions had been placed on reporting the conviction and sentencing at the time due to Farrell standing a separate trial, which was heard in April this year, charged with five counts of rape and five counts of assault. These charges relate to two other female victims who were identified and contacted during the murder investigation.
In May this year, Farrell was found guilty of all 10 charges and sentenced in total to a further 12 years imprisonment which will be served consecutively.
Detective Chief Inspector Nicole Main, Senior Investigating Officer, said: “These convictions demonstrate the alarming nature of Frank Farrell’s behaviour which he carried out over several years. It was important that he stood trial for all the violence he has perpetrated to achieve justice for the victims and for their families. A dangerous man is now rightly serving a lengthy prison sentence.”
A woman convicted of murdering a one-year old child in 2012 was jailed for life in November this year with a minimum term of 17 years.
Katie Tidmarsh was convicted of the murder of Ruby Thompson following a five-week trial at Leicester Crown Court.
Ruby, who was placed in foster care following her birth in July 2011, began living with Katie Tidmarsh in March 2012 in Leicester.
On the morning of 11 August 2012, a 999 call was made from the family address saying that Ruby had suffered a seizure. Ruby was taken to hospital and clinicians treating her discovered she had catastrophic brain damage. Despite the care and efforts of hospital staff, Ruby sadly died two days later.
Following a complex and lengthy investigation, Tidmarsh was charged with murder in 2022.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Sinski, who was the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “It has taken over 10 years to get this case to court and reach a successful guilty verdict. We never lost hope in seeking justice for Ruby and the absolute determination and commitment from the investigation and prosecution team has been undeniably vital in today’s result.”
Police investigation puts end to decade-long reign of terror
A substantial and complex police investigation spanning nine months ended after a Melton man responsible for a decade of abuse was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Countless officers from across the force worked to ensure Lee Smith was brought to justice for the crimes he committed, as well as to protect and support the three young people he exploited.
The 42-year-old used violence and threats as a way to manipulate and control his victims – committing numerous acts of rape and assault.
At Nottingham Crown Court in September, he was sentenced for a total of 26 offences – after being found guilty of 21 crimes and admitting a further five.
He was given life imprisonment and will serve a minimum of 15 years and 111 days.
Officer in the case, Detective Constable Emma Ball said: “Smith robbed these three people of their childhood and for more than a decade of their lives, they were controlled by his sadistic reign of terror.
“As the OIC it has been truly heartbreaking and extremely distressing to hear the horrific abuse the victims endured. The courage and strength the victims have shown since Smith’s arrest and throughout this investigation to ensure that justice was served has been incredible.
Police warn of dangers following fight which led to man's death
Leicestershire Police is warning of the dangers of becoming involved in a fight while out drinking after the actions of one man resulted in the death of a husband and father of two.
Sam Clark was sentenced in October at Leicester Crown Court to three years and two months imprisonment, after pleading guilty to manslaughter at a hearing in August.
The incident involving Clark and Darren Bradley occurred in the early hours of Friday 19 August 2022, after both men had been on a night out in Leicester city centre.
What started out as a verbal argument between the strangers on the corner of Carts Lane and High Street quickly turned into a physical attack on Mr Bradley by 21-year-old Clark.
During the incident, Clark kicked and punched the 53-year-old victim, before pulling him to the ground – causing him to hit his head.
Detective Inspector Jenni Greenway, Senior Investigating Officer, said: “Clark never went out that night with the intention of killing someone but a verbal disagreement fuelled by alcohol led to an incident which ended with such sad and severe implications.
“I would urge anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation to walk away from a disagreement before it becomes physical. An incident lasting only a few minutes could have devasting consequences for everyone involved.”
Three men who coerced a woman into getting in their car and driving her more than 15 miles were each jailed for a total of 10 years in October.
Ajay Doppalapudi, Vahar Manchala and Rana Yellambai approached their victim – who had been on a night out – in Leicester city centre in the early hours of Sunday 16 January last year. She got into their car, believing it was a taxi.
However, when the car drove along Narborough Road, she realised something was not right.
The driver eventually stopped in a secluded area of Misterton, just off the M1, where the victim was pulled from the car. After a while, she was able to make good her escape and ran off. She eventually reached the motorway, where she began trying to attract attention. After a short time, officers arrived and she was taken to a place of safety, where she disclosed what happened.
Subsequent CCTV enquiries identified the car – an Audi – in Leicester city centre. This led to the arrest of the three men.
Detective Constable Gemma Fox, the investigating officer, said: “Without doubt, the three men involved in this case were predators. They were in the city centre in the early hours that Sunday morning looking for a woman to take advantage of to fulfil their own sexual gratifications.
“I cannot commend the victim enough for her immense bravery in recounting her ordeal both to police and again in front of a jury.
Total of 39 people sentenced following huge class A drugs supply investigation
A total of 39 people have been sentenced following a police investigation into a number of conspiracies to supply industrial amounts of class A drugs across the UK.
The defendants have been brought before the court throughout the year following an East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) investigation, which was launched in April 2020, after the encrypted chat platform ‘Encrochat’ was dismantled as part of a huge international law enforcement operation.
A large number of those who have been sentenced used the encrypted chat platform to organise and facilitate the supply of multiple kilos of cocaine and heroin, primarily between January and September 2020.
Data recovered from the platform was used by officers to mount a successful prosecution highlighting the vast scale of the offending, stretching the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and across international boundaries.
Detective Sergeant Chris Sewell, from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: “This offending stretched across the UK and international boundaries. A huge investigation has now seen a total of 39 people sentenced and large amounts of cash and class A drugs being recovered.
“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this investigation and who has helped to bring this before the courts.
“We continue to act on information received in relation to drug offending and urge anyone with any information to report it to us so that we can take the action needed.”
Praise for officer as her suspicion leads to one of biggest single cocaine seizures in force area
An officer was praised after a vehicle stop led to one of the biggest single cocaine seizures in the force area.
More than 100kg of cocaine, which has an estimated street value of more than £8million, was found by the officer from the force’s roads policing unit, when she stopped the van in the Blaby area in June 2022.
In March this year, as the driver 41-year-old Jamie Gough was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, Chief Constable Rob Nixon praised the police work which has led to the conviction.
Chief Constable Nixon said: “This was a vehicle stop which was made purely based on an officer’s intuition and suspicion about the manner in which a vehicle was being driven. It ultimately led to millions of pounds worth of cocaine being seized and removed from our streets.”
A man was sentenced to nine years imprisonment in February after admitting causing the death of a teenage girl by dangerous driving.
Shortly after 11am on Wednesday 26 October last year, emergency services were called to Braunstone Lane following a report that a black Vauxhall Astra had left the road and struck two teenage girls who were walking along the pavement, close to the junction with Mortimer Way.
Despite the attempts of paramedics to save her, one of the girls – Tehleigher Bunting, aged 14 – was pronounced dead at the scene. The other girl – her friend – escaped injury.
During the investigation, CCTV footage obtained by detectives showed that the driver of the car, Aaron Carter, had overtaken another vehicle in a dangerous manoeuvre just moments before the collision occurred.
It was also discovered that Carter had previously been advised to stop driving by healthcare professionals on more than one occasion, due to a medical condition.
Detective Constable Emma Mitchell, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) was the investigating officer. She said: “This incident has, understandably, had a devastating impact on Tehleigher’s family and those who knew her.
“No prison sentence is going to bring her back, but I hope her family can feel a sense of justice that the man who took their daughter’s life is now serving time behind bars – and that this will provide a degree of closure and allow them to move on as best they can.”
A motorist who killed one man and injured three other people after driving the wrong way along the M6 was jailed.
Christian Taylor, 41, was sentenced to 10 years and six months’ imprisonment at Leicester Crown Court in February.
Shortly after 4.30am on 14 October last year, Taylor’s black BMW 5 Series collided with a blue Nissan Juke on the southbound carriageway, close to junction 1.
The four occupants of the Juke were taken to hospital.
Sadly, on Sunday 16 October one of them – 35-year-old David Draghita from Sutton Coldfield – died as a result of his injuries.
During the investigation, officers established that Taylor – from Preston-on-Stour in Warwickshire – had been under the influence of alcohol at the time the collision occurred.
He pleaded guilty to one count of causing death by dangerous driving and three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Detective Sergeant Ed Des-Chanelle, from the force’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) was the senior investigating officer. He said: “First and foremost, my condolences go out to David’s family. I know that no custodial sentence will bring him back.
“I hope this case serves as a stark warning to motorists across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland that drinking alcohol and then deciding to drive can impair your thinking and judgement and lead to very serious consequences.”
Pair jailed for aggravated burglary following police investigation
A police investigation has led to two people who broke into a house and threatened a man with weapons being jailed.
Graham Carr, 35, and Tom Lord, 34, were both sentenced to 90 months imprisonment each at Leicester Crown Court in September after previously pleading guilty to aggravated burglary.
The men had managed to escape from the scene following the incident in May last year but were later arrested and charged following extensive police enquiries.
Graham Carr (left) and Tom Lord
The victim of the offence, who is in his 20s, had been at home in Loughborough at around 3.30pm on 23 May last year when the incident happened.
Detective Constable Jo Turnbull said: “The victim of this offence was left terrified in his own home. Carr and Lord showed absolutely no regard for the victim as they burst into his home and demanded money. I thank the victim for his bravery during this investigation and hope this sentence helps him in some small way.”
Robber jailed after being caught by blood left at scene of crime
A robber has been jailed for 30 months after blood left at the scene of a crime led to him being identified by detectives.
Kaeden Gardner, 19, was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court in September after pleading guilty to a raft of offences at an earlier court hearing.
On 6 January this year, he was at a supermarket in Blaby Road, Wigston when he became involved in an argument with a member of security staff who saw that he was in possession of a knife. The incident, which was captured on CCTV, was reported to police.
At around 2am on 26 February, Gardner went into a fast-food restaurant in Almond Road with a group of others, where he threatened another customer and ripped a necklace that he was wearing, taking it and leaving the premises.
At 5.30pm the same day, Gardner and a group went into a newsagent in Cavendish Road, attempting to steal various items including alcohol. When he was challenged by the owners of the shop, Gardner started punching them, following them into the back where he then smashed glass door panels. However, he cut his hand in the process meaning his blood was left at the scene.
Detective Constable Fiona Day, from South Leicester CID, was the investigating officer. She said: “Gardner is a prolific offender who is well-known to police.
“I hope the public – but especially those he harmed during these incidents – see the fact that he’s now serving time in prison for his offending as a positive outcome.”