A man from Stanmore who fired four gunshots after leaving a Watford nightclub has been jailed for seven years.
Elliot Simon, 28, Stanmore, had acted a peacemaker to begin with during a row with three men whose car had blocked their way in a service road off Beechen Grove.
During the dispute, Simon pulled out gun and fired, two of the bullets hit the car. The prosecutor said the driver of the silver Corsa had been to a popular nightclub in Watford Town Centre with friends on the night of December 7 (leading int0 8) back in 2018.
They left the nightclub after 3am and after driving away for a short distance, the man stopped the car and put his hazard lights on while he searched for his phone.
Simon and Raydun Celestine, 25, (also from Stanmore), left same nightclub with friends at approximately the same time. Celestine drove them away in a Chevrolet that was blocked by the Corsa.
Prosecutor Charles Evans said: “Mr Celestine got out and shouted and swore. He threatened to rob him (the driver)
“Mr Simon got out of the car and approached the victim and sought to calm things down. Mr Celestine was maintaining his aggression and Mr Simon tried to pull him back. He told him to get in the car and leave.”
They also said that Simon pulled out a small black handgun. He fired the gun once and then for a second time near the driver’s feet. Simon had also taken drink and drugs.
The two men in the victim’s car ran off from the scene. Simon was arrested on December 11 and Celestine handed himself in to the police on December 17 2018.
Simon appeared for sentence, having pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possession of cocaine. He was in breach of a suspended sentence for possessing cannabis. In 2011 he was jailed for 30 months for five robberies.
Raymond Celestine, aged 25, also from Stanmore, also appeared in court for sentencing after pleading guilty to affray in relation to the incident.
He received an 18-month community order, was ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation requirement.
Judge Philip Grey said: “Far too many people In this country have been killed or seriously injured by guns.
“This was a real gun with real bullets. Your intention was to terrify that man and his friends
“The bullet recovered from the driver’s seat was a matter of inches from hitting the victim. You came within a very short distance from taking a man’s life.”
Detective Constable Lewis Mortimer, who led the investigation, said: “This was a terrifying incident for all three victims, who were just innocently making their way home after a night out clubbing when they got caught up in an altercation with the defendants.
“A minor road rage incident escalated and the defendants’ reactions were completely disproportionate.
“Forensic teams assessed the Vauxhall Corsa and found a bullet lodged in the driver’s seat and the door panel, just centimetres away from where the victim was sitting. It is a miracle that the driver was not struck, and that we aren’t looking at a murder conviction.
“Detectives worked tirelessly in the hours and days that followed this incident in order to identify those responsible and in the months that followed. I am pleased with the sentences that have been handed down today. I hope Simon understands the gravity of the offence and that his sentence serves as a warning to those who think it is a good idea to carry a gun. We will not tolerate firearms on our streets in Watford.”
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