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Man jailed for 21 years for murdering Birmingham teenager Kenichi Phillips

28/11/2016

A man who shot dead a teenager as he sat in a parked car in the Ladywood area of Birmingham earlier this year has been jailed for a minimum of 21 years for murdering him. 

Disharn Downie was part of a group that opened fire at the Seat Ibiza on St Marks Crescent on the evening of Thursday 17 March.

Disharn Downie

One of the bullets struck 18-year-old front seat passenger Kenichi Phillips in the jaw and neck. Luckily the other two occupants were not hit and got out of the vehicle unharmed.

All three men quickly ran away from the car after escaping through the driver’s door but, due to the level of injury he had sustained, Kenichi collapsed in a nearby alleyway.

Passers-by who witnessed what had happened tried to revive him as well as paramedics, who arrived a short time later, but nothing could be done to save him and he died at the scene. 

Kenichi Phillips

Detectives started following up leads immediately and witnesses began to tell of how they saw a car speeding away from the scene straight after the shooting.

That vehicle was identified as a Mazda 2 following a CCTV trawl - and enquiries led officers to an address in the Gravel Bank area of Bartley Green - the home of Downie. 

Further CCTV footage from the address and surrounding area showed him leaving the property in the car and heading to the murder scene in Ladywood 20 minutes before it happened. 

Downie was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court today (28 November) after he was found guilty of murdering Kenichi Phillips as well as attempted murder and attempted grievous bodily harm in relation to the other two occupants of the car last month. 

The 18-year-old, of Gravel Bank, Birmingham was also sentenced to 10 years for possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and 5 years for robbery in relation to a separate matter a few weeks before the killing. 

His co-accused Dean Silvera, aged 37, of St Giles Close in Rowley Regis was cleared of murder but was found guilty of assisting an offender and has been sentenced to 7 and a half years in prison. 

Dean Silvera

Detective Inspector Jim Munro, who led the investigation, said: “Disharn Downie a showed complete disregard for human life when he fired those shots into that car and it’s only through luck alone that others weren’t seriously hurt as a result of his actions.

“I’m glad that the jury were able to see that this was nothing short of a calculated and pre-meditated murder by Downie. My thoughts are now with Kenichi Phillips’ family who I hope find some comfort in today’s convictions."

DI Munro also sought to reassure the community of the West Midlands Police’s on-going commitment to tackling gun crime.

He added: “We have teams which are dedicated to dealing with gun and gang crime and have made some significant arrests and seizures of firearms and ammunition over the last few months.

“Recent court cases have shown that gun criminals can expect to spend many, many years behind bars - police and the courts simply won’t tolerate the use or possession of illegal firearms."