Firearms dealer jailed for 30 years

A firearms dealer who sold handguns and home-made bullets that were linked to more than 100 crime scenes has been jailed for 30 years.

Paul Edmunds, 66, imported a Colt pistol used in a fatal shooting at a nightclub in London.

He also supplied ammunition used in two other killings and an attempt to shoot down a police helicopter.

Police arrested Edmunds, of Bristol Road, Hardwicke, Gloucestershire, in 2015 and found three armouries and made bullets to fit antique weapons.

Edmunds, a registered firearms dealer, was found guilty in November of conspiracy to supply firearms and ammunition and smuggling banned Colt handguns into the UK from the US.

Judge Richard Bond told the pensioner: “You ran roughshod over your legal responsibilities as a registered firearms dealer.”

He added: “You were at the top of the chain of supply of handguns and ammunition to criminal gangs.

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout photo issued by West Midlands Police of Kenichi Phillips, 18, who was shot dead in a Birmingham street in March 2016, as the crime has been linked to rogue firearms dealer Paul Edmunds.

Image: Kenichi Phillips, 18, who was shot dead in a Birmingham street in March 2016

“Without your actions the numerous handguns and hand-loaded ammunition would not have found their way on to the streets of the United Kingdom.

“Quite simply, you were the lynchpin to this conspiracy and without you it could not have been carried out.”

Standing a few feet away from Edmunds in the gallery were the parents of 18-year-old shooting victim, Kenichi Phillips, killed in Birmingham in March 2016.

As jurors heard, one of Edmunds’ unfired rounds was found at the scene of that murder, which was among 107 crime scenes linked to the pensioner’s trade.

At a re-trial earlier this year the jury heard how Edmunds and middleman Dr Mohinder Surdhar acted together to supply antique revolvers and custom-made ammunition to criminal gangs.

Physiotherapist Surdhar,56, from Grove Lane, Handsworth, Birmingham, admitted conspiracy to supply firearms and ammunition between 2009 and 2015 before Edmunds’ trial and will be sentenced on Friday.

But Edmunds, a father of two, had denied hand-crafting bullets for use in supposedly obsolete vintage weapons, including 19th century revolvers, which he brought into the country legally.

But the jury dismissed this and also convicted him of possessing a prohibited air pistol and perverting the course of justice by filing down a bullet-making tool to destroy potential evidence.

As well as importing antique weapons, the gun fanatic also imported hundreds more modern prohibited firearms from the United States, having falsified customs paperwork.

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The judge said he had been “aghast” to hear from one legally-registered firearms importer who gave trial evidence on how packages are “not always checked” by UK border officials.

He said “this lax attitude … means that those who can lawfully bring weapons into this country can do so without them being properly checked”.