A masked gunman who fired two bullets into the head and mouth of a taxi driver during a brutal revenge “execution” has been found guilty of murder.
Bradford Crown Court had previously heard Ricardo Linton armed himself with a revolver in October 2001 and killed cabbie Mohammed Basharat after the two were involved in a road rage incident the day before.
The court heard how Linton, “who couldn’t stand coming off second best”, was ready to carry out revenge when his pride “had been bruised” in the argument, which culminated in the brutal slaying of 33-year-old Mr Basharat the next day.
Linton was also charged with the attempted murder of a second taxi driver at Little Horton’s private hire firm in Park Lane on October 20, YorkshireLive reports.
The second man, who had witnessed the road rage fight the day before, only survived after the gun used during the attack malfunctioned, jurors were told.
Mr Basharat suffered catastrophic injuries to his head and mouth and died on the spot where he had been shot despite the best efforts of his colleagues and medics.
Opening the case last month, Richard Wright QC, said he would invite jurors to reach the conclusion that the man behind the brutal slaying of Mr Basharat was Linton, who also went by the name Wayne Alfonso Macdonald.
He said: “Almost 20 years ago in the early evening of October 20, 2001, a masked man went into the office of a Bradford private hire taxi firm.
“The masked man was armed with a revolver handgun loaded with live ammunition.
“He pointed his gun at one of the taxi drivers present in the office and pulled the trigger. Two bullets struck the man he had been aiming at – a 33-year-old man called Mohammed Basharat.”
Mr Wright told the jury that one of the bullets inflicted a “devastating and inevitably fatal blow to the head”.
He added: “The second bullet entered his open mouth and caused damage to his tongue and structures of his neck.
“Mr Basharat fell to the floor and died where he fell despite the best efforts of his colleague and paramedics to save him.
“The gunman turned his weapon in the direction of others who were present in the taxi office and in particular a second driver. He pulled the trigger but his weapon failed and despite attempts to shoot him, he was unable to do so.
“With that the gunman turned and left the taxi office.”
Mr Wright went on to tell jurors that the gunshots were fired deliberately in order to kill Mr Basharat and not in an attempt to scare anyone.
He said that Mr Basharat had not been selected in a random act of violence, but was instead targeted as part of a follow-up to the road rage brawl on October 19.
Mr Wright said: “The gunman had come to kill Mohammed Basharat just as he had promised him he would the previous day.”
He added: “On October 19, 2001, Mohammed Basharat had been driving his taxi on Park Lane not far from the taxi office.
“He had a passenger in the vehicle when he encountered another car, a white Renault Clio, coming in the opposite direction.
“It was being badly driven and Mr Basharat had to stop his vehicle. Words were exchanged between the drivers.”
Mr Wright described how a scuffle between the pair then took place before the would-be gunman ran off after making threats to kill him.
He added: “The fight was something of nothing in terms of violence used. One thing was clear – the black man was not a match for the much stronger Mohammed Basharat and he was coming off worse.
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“Before he left, that man made a series of threats to Mohammed Basharat that were heard by a number of others who were present.
“Plainly he was a man with a short temper and who couldn’t stand coming off second best.
“He was willing to use a firearm to execute a wholly disproportionate revenge when he felt slighted.
“He was prepared to execute a man in cold blood because his pride had been bruised.
“We will invite you to reach the short conclusion the defendant, Ricardo Linton, was that man.
Jurors had also been told Linton had been “on the run” at the time from police in America over a fatal shooting in New York.
He was eventually arrested by United States police officers in Jamaica in 2003 and following a trial in America in October 2005, he was convicted of murder by a jury and jailed.
Barrister Simon Clegg, for the prosecution, told a jury at Bradford Crown Court that Linton was subsequently extradited from the US to this country in September last year and he was arrested and charged with the murder of Mr Basharat after he arrived at Heathrow Airport.
Linton, of no fixed address, will be sentenced on September 27 at the same court.