Hendon drug dealer and County Durham Murderer guilty of possessing shotgun

A Hendon drug dealer and a convicted murderer have been found guilty of possessing of a sawn-off shotgun.

The gun – which was 50cm long – was found by police buried in a field, near a play area, in Middlesbrough in October 2019. Brandon Ali, 21, and George Lammie, 45, both denied possessing a prohibited firearm.

On Tuesday afternoon, a unanimous jury at Teesside Crown Court found them both guilty of the offence.

It was reported how Ali, of Hurworth Street in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, is already serving a life sentence for the murder of 37-year-old Carl Eland.

Ali, and his pal Joey Matthews, drove a car straight into drug rival Mr Eland, who was a dad-of-four, in August 2021. Mr Eland was out on his bike at the time and his girlfriend Kassi Weir was sitting on his handlebars.

Ms Weir escaped relatively unscathed but Mr Eland later died in hospital.

Lammie, of Villette Road, Hendon in Sunderland, has served two prison sentences for drug dealing, and has a long criminal history which includes the possession of a weapon and perverting the course of justice.

Judge Andrew Sutcliffe KC told the two men: “I have no doubt that this weapon was intended to be used for a criminal purpose. In Ali’s case, the court cannot be sure that this offence was committed after you turned 18. There is no evidence to show when this gun was buried.”

During the trial, prosecutor Lucy Brown told the court in Middlesbrough how Ali’s DNA was found on the trigger and handle and Lammie’s DNA was on the shotgun barrel.

Ali, previously of Hemlington, Middlesbrough, told the jury that he did not know how his fingerprints came to be on the gun.

He said his first handling of a shotgun was when he was 12 and he went clay pigeon shooting once a month on farmland in Marske. However he said he had never touched a sawn-off shotgun.

Ali said it was possible that one of the guns he had used whilst shooting, had fallen into the wrong hands.

Lammie said he did touch the gun but that it wasn’t his. He told the court in Middlesbrough that a man once brought a gun “to his door, and asked me to sell it for him”.

He told jurors how he put both of his hands inside the black bag which the man had, felt the outline of the gun and placed it back in the bag after realising what it was. “I didn’t know the kid’s name” Lammie said, “or when he came to see me”.

In August last year, Ali was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 21 years. He has now been jailed for an additional three years.

Lammie was put behind bars for five years.