A SAWN-off shotgun found by police investigating the murder of Rugby father-of-three Jordan Banton has led to a 20 month jail sentence for an Oxfordshire man – even though neither he nor the weapon were involved in the killing.
Tyrone Gray, 27, had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to possessing a prohibited weapon in July last year.
But on the day of his trial he admitted an alternative offence of possessing a firearm while prohibited from doing so because of a criminal conviction.
Gray (27) of Hazel Grove, Bicester, Oxfordshire, was jailed for 20 months, consecutive to a 27-month sentence he is already serving for a burglary.
During the investigation into the killing of Jordan Banton – who had been blasted three times with a shotgun as he sat in his car, and for which two men have since been jailed for life – officers found the weapon at a house in Main Street, Clifton-on-Dunsmore.
Forensic tests revealed Gray’s DNA was on the gun, but further analysis revealed that it was not the murder weapon and that Gray had nothing to do with the shooting.
But his DNA showed he had been in possession of the shotgun, despite being prohibited from possessing a firearm because it was within five years of him having served a prison sentence.
Stephen Parker, defending, said that Gray had agreed to look after the shotgun for an associate who had a conviction for possessing a shotgun cartridge while prohibited.
But Mr Parker pointed out: “It was not in the sawn-off state when he had possession of it, or he would not have accepted it.”
He added that Gray, who is serving a 27-month sentence for a ram-raid at a travel agent, from which he is not due to be released until next year, “says he has had enough of prison”.
Jailing Gray, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “You are here because of what the police found when searching a house following a much more serious crime. There is no suggestion you had anything to do with that.
“But what they found was a case with a gun in it. It was found to have your DNA on it, and you have pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm when prohibited from doing so.
“The prosecution cannot prove that when you were in possession of this gun it was a sawn-off shotgun and therefore illegal.
“But you know you are prohibited from possessing a weapon like that because of your previous convictions which include the supply of class A drugs.
“Your account is that you looked after this for a week for a friend, and there is no evidence that was not true.
“But you have a previous conviction for possessing ammunition in similar circumstances. That makes this a serious matter.”