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Three men involved in an Aberdare shooting have been jailed for a total of 12 years.

Oliver Pearce, 30, of Ynyslyn Road, Rhydyfelin, Ricky Webber, 29, of Nythbran Terrace, Porth and James Drakes, 34, of Edmondes Street, Tylorstown, were all jailed for their part in a reckless shooting through the bedroom window of a terraced property in Trecynon earlier this year.

Oliver Pearce and James Drakes were both jailed for five years, and Ricky Webber was jailed for two years at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court on Thursday, 23 December.

At 9:35pm on 1st February (2021) they travelled to the Windsor Street in Oliver Pearce’s white BMW. They pulled-up outside the house where Pearce and Drakes got out the car and shouted the name of the occupant.

Drakes, armed with a handgun, shot four times through the upstairs window from inside the car before the three men sped off from the scene.

Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Lewis, said:

“Gun crime is almost unheard of in the region – the incident shocked the local community and we were determined to identify who was responsible. We had a team of officers working around the clock to make that happen.”

Detectives carried out door to door enquiries and scanned hundreds of hours of CCTV footage. The shooting was captured on CCTV from a nearby house and CCTV from a nearby shop captured the white BMW driving around the local area prior to the shooting. From that, officers established the registration of the car and were able to track its movements before and after the incident.

The registered keeper of the vehicle was Oliver Pearce and the day after the incident officers arrested him outside his Rhydyfelin home. Ricky Webber was arrested two days later.

Examinations of mobile phones belonging to the defendants confirmed lots of calls and messages between them in the run up to, and on the day of the shooting. They had all turned their phones off at the time of the shooting.

A mobile phone used by James Drakes was then linked to a network in Workington, England. Officers identified the car used and they tracked it back to south Wales where a roadside camera captured Drakes in the driving seat.

He was arrested shortly after by firearms officers who carried out a hard stop on a slip road of the A470.

All three men were charged and pleaded not guilty so the case was sent for trial.

In October, at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court, Oliver Pearce and James Drakes pleaded not guilty to attempted murder but guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possessing a firearm in a public place. Ricky Webber was found guilty of possessing a firearm in a public place.

DCI Sarah Lewis, said:

“To ensure a successful prosecution, we relied upon our dedicated and determined team of detectives to carry out what were complex and protracted enquiries. My team left no stone unturned to bring them to justice.”

South Wales Police have not yet recovered the firearm used and are now appealing for anybody who has information about its whereabouts to make contact.

DCI Lewis added:

“The community have been very helpful throughout our investigation and I would like to thank those who came forward. I am now appealing for anybody who has information about the whereabouts of the firearm to make contact. I hope somebody will take this opportunity to do the right thing so we can remove it from our streets.”

Anybody who does have information can call 101 or they can Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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