Three Men Sentenced for the Murder of Raheem Wilks
Thursday November 9, 2017
Three men have been jailed for life over the murder of 19-year-old Raheem Wilks who died after being shot in Leeds earlier this year.
Raheem was shot at Too Sharps’s barber shop, in Gathorne Terrace, Harehills, on the afternoon of
Thursday, January 26.
He underwent emergency surgery at hospital but was pronounced dead later that day. A post-mortem examination found that he died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
A murder investigation was launched led by West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team into what was believed to be a targeted attack with possible links to the supply of Class A drugs in the area.
Extensive enquiries over the days immediately following the murder led to the arrest of Keal Richards, aged 21, of Francis Street, Chapeltown. He was charged with murder and remanded in custody.
A number of other arrest operations involving firearms officers were conducted over the following days and months leading to further arrests and murder charges.
Jaydn Manners, aged 24, of Louis Street, Chapeltown and Tremaine Wisdom, aged 29, of Stainbeck Road, Meanwood were charged with Raheem’s murder along with two other men.
With no eye-witnesses willing to assist the investigation, detectives had to conduct painstaking enquiries which saw them seize and analyse large quantities of CCTV and other data, such as phone records and social media, to link the defendants to the crime.
This included a Snapchat message recorded by Richards in the immediate aftermath of the murder. It featured him celebrating in his car as he sang along to a rap video with lyrics that reference an unrelated shooting in a barber shop.
Snapchat messages are normally not retrievable but detectives liaised with authorities in the United States and were able to recover the clip and admit it as part of the evidence.
CCTV footage showed Manners and Richards being picked up by Wisdom in a lease car minutes before Raheem was shot. Richards is carrying a bag that is believed to have contained the gun. Other footage shows the car travelling to and from the scene of the murder.
Following a trial at Leeds Crown Court, Richards, Wisdom and Manners were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 33 years.
Keiran Hunt, aged 30, of Roundhay Road, Harehills, and Cornelia Benjamin, aged 21, of Reginald Street, Chapeltown, were both found not guilty.
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Spencer, who led the investigation, said: “Raheem Wilks was murdered in cold blood in the middle of the day in what was clearly a planned and targeted attack.
“The men convicted of this utterly appalling crime went there with the firm intention of shooting and killing him, with total disregard for anybody who may have been present nearby.
“Raheem had made certain choices in his life, which sadly took him into a world of criminality. This in no way condones what happened to him.
“As a young man of nineteen he had everything to live for. He was a son, a brother, and a father to a little boy, who sadly will have to grow up without his dad. Raheem’s family are completely devastated that he has been taken from them so suddenly in these violent circumstances.
“The men responsible have received life sentences with significant minimum terms and, although nothing will ever compensate Raheem’s family for the pain and loss they are going through, we hope they can take some small measure of comfort from seeing these men brought to justice.
“Raheem’s senseless murder at just the young age of nineteen very starkly illustrates the tragic consequences of the criminal use of firearms by those involved in the organised supply of drugs.
“This is not a music video or posting on YouTube. This is real life and it is completely unacceptable. The law-abiding majority within this community do not accept this as a culture. That community need to feel assured that when their teenage son or daughter goes out for the evening, they can do so confident in the knowledge they will come to no harm.
“The drugs trade and the violence that goes with it has a negative impact on the daily lives of people in this and other communities in the city, and the police and our partner agencies will keep doing everything we can to tackle it to help other families avoid the senseless loss of life we have seen in this case.
“This was an incredibly difficult, protracted investigation, frustrated to some extent by the reluctance of eye-witnesses, through fear of violence, to give evidence or information to the police. Consequently the investigation team have had to sift through days and days of data to identify and capture evidence which, with the support of the Crown Prosecution Service, has led to the successful conviction of these men.”