County lines gang who bragged on CCTV about brutally murdering vulnerable man, 42, whose flat they took over to sell drugs are jailed for a total of 173 years
- Ross Ball killed by a gang who took over his flat to use it as a drug dealing base
- Gang boss Garry Cooper had dealers using Mr Ball’s flat to sell illegal narcotics
- Mr Ball got caught up in a dispute between two rival gangs operating in the area
- He was stabbed to death by six gang members, severing his ankle in the attack
A gang who almost hacked off a man’s foot as they stabbed him to death in the street have been jailed for 173 years after they were caught on CCTV boasting about the murder.
Ross Ball was stabbed to death by thugs who had taken over his flat to use as a base for drug dealing.
The 42-year-old jumped out of his window in an attempt to escape but was set upon outside where he was stabbed with such force by six men that his ankle was partially severed.
The attackers were armed with a sword, machete and baseball bat and also kicked Mr Ball repeatedly in the head as he lay on the floor.
Left, Garry Cooper and right, Anthony Daw. Three members of the group were captured on CCTV meeting with Cooper (left), who was not at the scene but ordered the killing. Cooper was jailed for 29 years and Daw for 25 years
Footage shows the grinning thugs appearing to act out the savage attack, with one doing a stamping motion with his foot. Another then pretends to fall to one side with his head lolling lifelessly as they brag to each other about the murder
‘Boss man’ Garry Cooper and his gang had forced Mr Ball into letting them use his flat to sell drugs, peddling him with crack cocaine, heroin and mamba in exchange.
Cooper and his gang forced Ross Ball (pictured), into letting them use his flat to sell drugs
Users would post cash through the letterbox of the flat in Sutton-in-Ashfield as the drugs were posted back out.
The drugs racket operated 12 hours a day and earned £3,000 a day; the equivalent to £1million a year, the court heard.
Days before the murder, a rival gang had taken over the flat and Cooper ordered his men to attack Mr Ball in the turf war.
The gang burst into the flat and Mr Ball tried to escape in his boxer shorts, T-shirt and no shoes by jumping out the window.
But he was caught and stabbed to death on the street.
The six men fled the scene in two cars but set off automatic number plate recognition cameras along their journey, allowing detectives investigating the murder to build up a picture of their movements.
Three members of the group were captured on CCTV meeting with Cooper – who was not at the scene but ordered the killing – in Mansfield Town Centre.
Footage shows the grinning thugs appearing to act out the savage attack, with one doing a stamping motion with his foot.
Another then pretends to fall to one side with his head lolling lifelessly as they brag to each other about the murder.
The CCTV and examinations of their mobile phones linked them to the killing.
Six of them were found guilty of murder while a seventh was convicted of manslaughter.
On Tuesday the gang were jailed for a total of 173 years at Nottingham Crown Court.
Matthew Jones, 23 (left) and Jake Honer, 21 (centre), were both jailed for 25 years. Connor Sharman, 22 (right) was convicted of manslaughter and conspiracy to supply class A drugs and sentenced to 21 years
The gang meet and appear to be captured on CCTV acting out the murder
Shaun Buckley, 29 (left) was jailed for 25 years while John McDonald, 25, (right) was sentenced to a minimum of 23 years
Ringleader Garry Cooper, 34, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, was jailed for 29 years.
Shaun Buckley, 29, from Solihull, Jake Honer, 21, Anthony Daw, 25, and Matthew Jones, 23, all from Birmingham, were each jailed for 25 years.
John McDonald, 25, also from Birmingham, was sentenced to a minimum of 23 years.
Connor Sharman, 22, of no fixed address, was convicted of manslaughter and conspiracy to supply class A drugs and sentenced to 21 years.
Buckley, Honer, Daw, Jones, Cooper and Sharman had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A Drugs.
Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Becky Hodgman, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: ‘Ross Ball was a man caught in a cycle of drug use which tragically left him vulnerable to the actions of violent criminals.
‘This is a really sad case and it’s important to remember that it only takes a few hard knocks and wrong turns in life to end up in a similar position.
‘We’ll never know what Ross may have done with the rest of his life, or what kind of future might have been taken away from him by the cruel actions of his killers.’
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