A drug kingpin and five of his dealers brutally murdered a vulnerable man as part of a turf war.
A SEVENTH man was also involved in the killing, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
Ross Ball, a heavy drug user, was killed at his flat which the gang had taken over as a base for their drugs supply operation in Sutton-in-Ashfield on November 1, 2019.
Mr Ball, 42, was targeted by unscrupulous criminals who used his home for their criminal activity and paid him in crack cocaine, heroin and mamba, said Nottinghamshire Police.
Garry Cooper, head of the gang which killed Mr Ball, had dealers using his flat to sell illegal narcotics. Buyers would post cash through the letterbox, with the drugs being posted back to them from inside.
The court heard how the murder was a dispute between two rival gangs operating in the area at the time.
Mr Ball’s flat had been taken over by an opposition gang a few days before his death, and the attack was an attempt by Cooper and his men to reclaim the property for their drug dealing.
The prosecution argued that telephone calls between the defendants before the murder were evidence of the group planning out the attack.
Events came to a head on November 1 when Mr Ball and two other men were startled by shouting and banging on the front door of the flat.
Mr Ball and the other two men jumped out of the flat’s first-floor window in an attempt to escape, but Mr Ball was set upon outside and stabbed to death in a savage attack by six gang members.
He sustained multiple knife wounds and his ankle was partially severed in the attack.
The six men fled the scene in two cars and set off automatic number plate recognition cameras along their journey, allowing detectives investigating the murder to build up a picture of their movements.
Three members of the group were captured on CCTV meeting with Garry Cooper, who was not at the scene but is believed to have orchestrated the killing, in Mansfield Town Centre after the attack.
Detective Inspector Becky Hodgman, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Ross Ball was a man caught in a cycle of drug use which tragically left him vulnerable to the actions of violent criminals.”
Five men from Birmingham and Kirby-in-Ashfield were found guilty of murder and conspiracy to supply class A drugs and were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday, December 22:
Shaun Buckley, 29; Jake Honer, 21; Anthony Daw, 25; and Matthew Jones, 23, were sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison
Garry Cooper, 34, was handed a minimum of 29 years in prison, and a sixth man, John McDonald, 25, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to a minimum of 23 years in prison.
Connor Sharman, 22, of no fixed address, was convicted of manslaughter and conspiracy to supply class A drugs and sentenced to 21 years in prison.
All of the men denied murder.
Adam Collins, 36, from Sutton-in-Ashfield was found not guilty of assisting an offender.
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