Radio Sandwell Local News

Handsworth shooting: Man jailed for 30 years

2015-02-21 14:21:14

Aidan Harris Bennett

A criminal has been jailed for 30 years after a dad-of-three was shot in the back and left paralysed over a 'trivial' row in a fast food restaurant.

Aidan Harris-Bennett ordered a henchman to open fire on the defenceless victim as he tried to flee the scene in Babington Road, Handsworth.

The father was hit in the back as he ran away, leaving him needing emergency surgery and wheelchair-bound for life.

The row flared in Bings diner in Soho Road and spilled out into Babington Road on October 25, 2013.

West Midlands Police said the victim was ordering food with two friends when Harris-Bennett became aggressive and threatening.

The innocent trio left and headed for a car outside but Harris-Bennett and an accomplice followed them and brandished a knife.

The victim dodged Harris-Bennett's blade but a second attacker appeared with a gun and was ordered to open fire.

The first shot missed but the second hit the dad.

He fell to the floor and lay bleeding as Harris-Bennett and the second man fled towards Soho Road.

The injured man, now 29, was rushed to hospital and needed surgery including a tracheotomy.

Medics had to remove his lung.

The West Midlands force said he was unlikely to walk again as a result of his injuries.

Harris-Bennett, 23, of no fixed address, was on the run for more than six months.

A bid to arrest him at a relative’s Handsworth home failed in November 2013 but he was snared last May following a Crimewatch appeal.

He was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court after being convicted of attempted murder.

Det Con Sarah Lacey, of Force CID, said: "It appears Harris-Bennett called upon a friend to assist in a trivial argument, but the consequences have left an innocent man facing the rest of his life in a wheelchair, having suffered horrendous injuries.

"Harris-Bennett will now face a substantial prison sentence for an argument that could so easily have been avoided."

A 22-year-old man was arrested and charged with attempted murder but was cleared following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court last year.

Eye-witnesses told the Mail at the time of the shooting how they tried to help the victim.

Wayne Bushell, from Hodge Hill, said he saw the shooting while he was driving to pick up a friend.

"There were five people in the middle of the road arguing," he said.

"I went past and as I came back, I saw a guy shoot another one.

"They ran away and one guy was on the pavement."

Anyone with information should call 101 and quote Operation Pebble or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.

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