Credit: Essex Police
Two men, including one believed to be living in Ilford, have been jailed after a gun was fired at shoppers in a retail park.
Forrest Bentick and Rio Burton-Devine got out of a Nissan Juke car at Lakeside Retail Park in Grays, Essex on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 13 2022.
When two other men left a nearby shop, Burton-Devine pulled out a gun and pointed it towards them before firing it.
Witnesses reported hearing loud bangs and seeing smoke from the firearm, Essex Police said.
Both men fired at, who were in their 20s, were not hurt and got back into their car and drove away with a third man.
Burton-Devine was arrested three days later whilst Bentick was arrested on October 9 after a car in which he was a passenger was pursued by officers in Waltham Abbey, Essex.
Bentick decamped from the Audi A1 after it collided with a member of the public’s car.
An armed officer tackled Bentick to the ground after a foot chase.
Bentick was found in possession of a gun loaded with three rounds and a knife was hidden in his waistband.
Officers also arrested Chantel Fowler, who was driving the car at the time.
Police executed a warrant the next day in Huntsman Drive, Ilford, where Bentick and Fowler were believed to live.
Officers found the Nissan Juke used during the Grays incident, on false registration plates. The key to this car was in Bentick’s possession when he was arrested.
Upon searching the Ilford property, officers discovered cocaine, MDMA and about 4kg of cannabis as well as £15,000 cash in a wardrobe, multiple phones and an air-powered weapon.
Adam Yildaz, who was also present during the warrant, was arrested.
Burton-Devine, 24, of no fixed abode, admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence whilst Yildaz, 26, of Huntsman Road, Ilford, admitted two counts of possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply, possessing a Class B drug with intent to supply and acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.
Bentick, 24, of no fixed abode, denied possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, possessing a prohibited firearm, possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate, possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply, possession of a Class B drug with intent to supply and acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.
He did, however, admit having a bladed article.
Fowler, 25, of Aldriche Way, Highams Park, Waltham Forest, denied dangerous driving and acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.
Following a three-week trial at Basildon Crown Court, a jury found Bentick and Fowler guilty of all charges against them last month.
Bentick was jailed for an extended term of 19 years and six months and Burton-Devine for three years and six months when they appeared at the same court on Monday, August 21.
Yildaz was sentenced to 50 months’ imprisonment and Fowler was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years.
Det Insp Yoni Adler, who led the police investigation, said: “To call Rio Burton-Devine and Forrest Bentick’s actions anything other than dangerous and reckless would be an understatement.
“The incident at the retail park shows how the pair were willing to put the public’s safety at risk as Burton-Devine fired the weapon at the victims in a very public place.
“And when Bentick was arrested, he jeopardised everyone’s safety, including his own, and showed the lengths he was willing to go to, to evade capture.
“This level of criminality cannot be ignored – we cannot and will not allow people to wander our streets with lethal weapons.”