Army pistol used in murder attempt on policewoman

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by JP47, Dec 30, 2007.

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  1. The burglar was armed with a gun stolen from a British base or smuggled in from a war zone

    Mark Townsend, crime correspondent
    Sunday December 30, 2007

    A gun stolen from a British military base or smuggled by troops from Afghanistan or Iraq has been used in the attempted murder of a policewoman, The Observer can reveal.
    PC Rachael Bown was seriously wounded after being shot in Nottingham with a Browning 9mm pistol, senior firearms intelligence officers have disclosed. The shooting is one of 40 separate investigations under way into weapons thefts from army garrisons.

    Officers at the new National Ballistics Intelligence Programme, the agency charged with tracking firearms around the country, has identified a number of 'serious crimes' involving military weapons that have fallen into the hands of criminals.

    The shooting of Bown is the first evidence of their use on British streets. The 24-year-old probationary officer was off work for a year after being shot in the stomach at point-blank range as she confronted an armed burglar in Nottingham 20 months ago.
    A senior police source said: 'Because we are operating in two war scenarios - in Afghanistan and Iraq - there are big opportunities for people to bring guns back in.' Officially, the Ministry of Defence admits that 12 military weapons were lost or stolen up to October this year, although police sources indicate this could be an underestimate.

    The shooting of Bown in February 2006 provoked national uproar, renewing calls for a crackdown on gun crime. Nottingham crown court heard how she was left screaming in agony after being shot trying to arrest a suspected burglar, Trevon Thomas. In the seconds before the shooting, Bown received a radio call warning that an armed man was heading her way. She remained calm and told Thomas: 'Stop. Don't shoot. Stay where you are.' PC Martin Foster drew his CS spray and sprayed it towards Thomas's face as he ran past carrying a cocked 9mm Browning gun.

    Thomas, 25, fired three times, hitting the probationary officer below her body armour with the second or third shot. The bullet entered her stomach and passed through her body. Bown returned to work last March after taking 12 months to recover from serious injuries and post-traumatic stress.

    Thomas, from Trinidad, fled the scene, dumping the weapon in a wheelie bin. The find was a rare breakthrough. Firearms are rarely recovered from shootings and investigations are understood to be continuing into the origin of the Browning pistol.

    DNA evidence against Thomas included the Browning gun with his handprint on it, a mobile telephone and a jacket he shrugged off as he ran. Tests established that the gun was British army issue and probably from Iraq. Army guns can be sold for thousands of pounds on the black market.

    Thomas was found guilty of attempted murder and jailed for 30 years. During the trial it emerged that he had been living illegally in Britain for six years. He is due to be deported after serving half his sentence.

    Military police have launched Operation Plunder to prevent soldiers smuggling weapons and ammunition from Afghanistan and Iraq into Britain. Vehicles and baggage are searched before troops leave for home.

    Smuggled weapons and illegal immigrants
  2. Hats off to PC Brown, and Army, sort these feckers out, theres enough to deal with without being shot at by our own weapons.
  3. attempted weapon smuggling by Ned/Chav culture was indeed an issue recently, which, the RMP had stamped down on and had proved all allegations false! where did this weapon come from?
    speedy recovery PC Brown
  4. Says it all really.
  5. Ooooh top level work from the monkeys then.

    What a deterrant..... having a chimp wade through your undies.

    Why don't they teach one of those baby eating dogs to sniff Maks and Toks and curl out a Mr Whippy on detection?
  6. I had only a passing aquaintnece with the work of NIFSL and their weapon forensics shop, but feel I have to comment on this post.

    Perhaps not all the story has been told? If the firearms intelligence folks are so positive, this might indicate they had been able to match a round to a previously recorded and documented test-fire of an in-service weapon? If the weapon had a crown proof-mark and an MoD serial number, you would not need to run " tests" to identify it as a Service weapon.

    To my limited knowledge 9mm Browning pistols have been made in Beligium, Canada and Argentina. Anyone who remembers the PIRA's brief deployment of the FNC carbine will know that the FN Hestral plant was no stranger to the assembly of black market weapons from parts smuggled out of the factory by the workforce on their way home.

    The gun was
    Perhaps it is the readilly identifiable empty case and not the weapon, that points the finger at the forces? (A touch of poorly informed journalistic license I could understand, but not condone)

    I dearly hope there is some collateral to this allegation by the Observer, and that this is not founded on some incopmlete analysis by certain journos and staff at the national ballistics intelligence programme.

    I trust that fellow Arrsers will also be folowing this story with interest, it would be unllike certain quarters to make a convenient scapegoat out of the British Armed forces.
  7. Could it not have been an old PIRA weapon? They had a few ex-RUC and Army weapons didn't / dont they?

    T C
  8. Are you incinuating the failure of banning legally held firearms made no difference to the Armed crime rate, and the failure by the Government and police to lower gun crime statistics could mean they might point the finger at the forces and use them as a scapegoat?

    That would be underhand and very very naughty, surely not?

    I imagine that Subsonic is right about the ammo, a 9mm Browning barrel (rifling marks on the round) is hardly evidence that the round came from a military handgun.
  9. They were all decomissioned weren't they :roll:
  10. I would like to see what evidence they have that this pistol - or any used in crime - was actually stolen from a British Army unit in recent times. The vagueness of the "A gun stolen from a British military base or smuggled by troops from Afghanistan or Iraq" statement leads me to think that they've simply jumped to this conclusion because it happens to be an issue pattern pistol and that they do not in fact have any link to a missing Army weapon. If 12 weapons were lost or stolen up to Oct, etc, then thats a short list of 12 serial numbers to check.

    "Investigations are understood to be continuing into the origin of the Browning pistol": In this case, the weapon was recovered nearly 2 years ago - and yet they quite obviously haven't linked it to a specific theft of an Army weapon, otherwise that'd be splashed all over the court reporting as part of the Police self-enhancement of their investigative prowess....

    - The GP35 HiPower has been in world-wide use since 1935 - there are hundreds of thousands of them out there in the world markets.

    - The UK MoD recently sold off most of its stock of Mk1 and 1* pistols that its had since WW2 and the 1950s: there are tens of thousands of ex-British Army pistols circulating in the civilian gun trade in North America and Europe.
  11. Lots of if, buts and maybes.

    And the report contradicts itself in places.

    Covering all the bases with this one then.


    Does 1 not contradict statement 2? They have identified a number of serious crimes involving Mil weapons but this is the first time. It is my comprehension or their poor writing.

    As the army accounts for all weapons they should know. But is this 12 this year, this century, or over the last 10 years. Both statements could be true.

    I would imagine it was easier to smuggle captured weapons back into the country than steal a MOD weapon and get it back as MOD weapon are accounted for at some point. I would imagine that the Friday afternoon serial number check is a little difficult to do in a war zone, but still at some point the QM will like to know that you still have the weapon he gave you.
  12. How silly of me to forget!

    Hang on... didn't they shoot to peelers this month? And didn't they release a video statement that they would continue targetting PSNI and other Crown forces? Thats going to be hard when they've got no weapons any more....

    T C
  13. Of course there is no chance that there may be just one idiot in HMF who would smuggle a weapon home from Iraq or Afghanistan then chicken out and get rid of it so that it did end up on the street. Come into the real world lads , there are knob heads in uniform just as there are in civvy street. I can understand "sticking together" but let's get real ,the police don't make these statements just for something to do and to be honest a lot of the KNOWLEDGE I read of on the site foesn't square up with the level of knowledge that the average squaddie had in my time.
  14. Thats just misinformation, They can't have any weapons and all them fella's are model citizens and pillars of the community :wink:

  15. Because the papers, and police NEVER get things wrong, Do they?