Chance encounter led to Willowbrae shooting

The Mac-10 gun in the bushes. Picture: comp
The Mac-10 gun in the bushes. Picture: comp
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IT was a chance encounter next to Holy Rood High School which minutes later would end with a drug dealer slain in the street with a 
Mac-10 machine gun.

As a Ford Focus carrying Mohammed Abdi passed by shortly before 1am, two vehicles heading in the opposite direction suddenly spun round to start a high-speed pursuit.

Victim Mohammed Abdi. Picture: contributed

Victim Mohammed Abdi. Picture: contributed

The chase concluded with a “Mexican stand-off” between vehicles in Abercorn Avenue, and a VW Sharan packed with heavily armed gangsters crashing into railings.

A grinning Abdi ran over to the stricken people carrier, its occupants trapped inside, and furiously struck the windows with a baseball bat.

But a Mac-10 machine gun was fired through the back window and bodywork of the Volkswagen, cutting 25-year-old Abdi down in a hail of bullets.

More than two hours earlier, Abdi and his associates had been lured to Lochend with a promise to try and resolve a bitter dispute between factions of a Somalian drug gang.

About to be double-crossed, they escaped with their lives but while driving around the Capital, seemingly safe, they would once more run into their enemies near the darkened school building.

A clearer picture of the bloody events of May 26 last year has emerged from police and prosecutors, after three men halted a four-week trial by admitting the murder of Abdi in Willowbrae.

Mohamud Mohamud, 30, Cadil Huseen, 23, and Hussein Ali, 26 – part of a Somali drug gang making £15,000 a week peddling crack cocaine – now face life sentences.

Abdi was friendly with Huseen – known as Jamie – and Ali but a falling out split their gang into rival groups shortly before the killing.

The feud escalated quickly, with Abdi and associate Mohamed Farah vandalising Huseen’s flat in Gilmerton Road while his car was also damaged. The home of Ali – known as Bash – in Captain’s Drive, Gracemount, was attacked.

Farah is believed to have arrived on the scene from London about the same time as the gang split, joining up with Abdi.

On May 24, Jade Davren, who knew Huseen and Ali, sent a message to Abdi’s friend, Mohammed El-Helali, 21, saying “the guns are coming out”. She feared “somebody” was going to die.

It was 11pm on the following night when Abdi and his cohorts were contacted over a proposed “resolution” to the conflict, but it proved a set-up.

A short car chase ended with Abdi, driver El-Helali and others escaping into the night.

After the chance encounter at the school, a VW Sharan driven by Huseen and a Fiesta pursued them to nearby Willowbrae.

The Fiesta managed to overtake the Ford Focus, pulling in front and forcing the car to pull up at the foot of Abercorn Avenue. The slower Volkswagen caught up and collided with the Fiesta, careering down the avenue then turning round.

The VW Sharan – holding an armoury of the Mac-10 and a revolver – and the Ford Focus now faced each other in what police described as a “Mexican stand-off between vehicles”.

But it was Abdi and his associates who acted first, jumping out of their car armed with baseball bats and knives and running towards the VW, Abdi smiling broadly as he closed in.

VW driver Huseen accelerated forward, leaving heavy skid marks in the road, but at the last moment veered the car suddenly, perhaps to avoid the men on foot. Bumping up the kerb, the people carrier smashed through railings encircling Abercorn Tennis Club and became embedded.

Its side door was jammed by trees and the seven-seater VW – which police believe was fully loaded with gang members – needed to put front seats down to allow those in the back to exit.

Some of the men were trapped inside and vulnerable as Abdi and his friends took the advantage, striking the car with a bat and other weapons.

The rival gangsters engaged in a brutal street battle as terrified passers-by looked on.

But as Abdi swung his bat against the VW’s rear, the Mac-10 was fired five times from inside, hitting him three times, including a fatal wound to the chest. The gun then jammed, leaving 17 bullets still lodged inside, but Abdi lay lifeless on the ground.

Police officers arrived almost immediately on the chaotic scene. Gang members had managed to open the VW’s sliding door, spilling out into woods.

The Mac-10 was dropped in the undergrowth while the revolver was later found inside the VW with a single round fired from the chamber.

Mohamud Mohamud had been trapped in the Volkswagen’s back seat and was found by officers as he emerged.

Police believe seven men had been in the VW Sharan and two more in the Fiesta, with some leaving trails of blood as they fled the scene. A police helicopter was soon overhead to search for suspects.

Huseen hid in a garden shed for hours then made his way to London before being detained on June 4 last year.

But the man who actually fired the fatal shot from the Mac-10 has not been identified. 
Forensic experts examined the weapon but were unable to name the shooter.

Abdi himself may not have seen who pointed the gun amid the frenzy and the darkness.

In a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday, advocate depute Iain McSporran concluded: “The identity of the persons who actually fired each weapon is not easy to determine. All three accused were in the Sharan. There was at least one other man, possibly two in the car, and it is not possible to exclude either of these men as having been responsible.”

The Mac-10 was believed to have originated from a batch seized from a gun-running operation in England where replicas were converted. Ballistic tests concluded it was not linked to any other crimes.

Dozens of similar Mac-10s were sold by rogue gunsmith Grant Wilkinson, jailed for a minimum of 11 years in 2008, but police concluded the Edinburgh weapon was not part of that haul.

It is understood police believe only the two guns found were fired during the incident.

Four co-accused walked free after their not guilty pleas were accepted by the Crown on Thursday. Judge Lord Turnbull deferred sentence on the three guilty men until next month.