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Dispute between families resulted in fatal Hove shooting, court told
A father-of-two shot in the street was killed in a “cold, callous and deliberate attack”, a court was told yesterday.
Xhem Krasniqi, known as Jim, was shot in Selbourne Road, Hove, at about 11pm on May 18 last year.
Hove Crown Court was told “bad blood” between the family of 32-year-old Mr Krasniqi and the family of 31-yearold Edmund Nela – who is accused of his murder – led to the attack, witnessed by “many people”.
Mr Krasniqi was with his brother Ismail Zeneli and their nephew Kelmed Murataj when they saw Nela walking down the street, said Philip Bennetts QC, prosecuting.
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He said the three men got out of the car and Nela, who is a black belt in karate, turned and shot at them.
Mr Bennetts, opening the case, said in a police statement Mr Murataj described how Nela “aimed the gun” at the three men before saying: “I’m going to kill you all.”
Nela fired at least three shots from a 9mm self-loading pistol, Mr Bennetts said.
He said one penetrated Mr Krasniqi’s right flank and he died shortly after 1am the next day in the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.
He said another shot “ricocheted” off the ground, striking the wallet in Mr Murataj’s pocket and shattering his cards.
Mr Bennetts said witnesses including Mark Gifford heard shots and saw a man holding a gun.
Referring to Mr Gifford’s evidence, Mr Bennetts said: “On the opposite side of the road [to the gunman] were three men.
“One was crouching behind a large black public bin taking cover from the shots.”
Mr Bennetts said Mr Gifford described the gunman as standing “in one stance only shooting directly at these people”.
He continued: “‘The shooter was standing still, taking aim.
“He wasn’t under any pressure from anyone as he was firing the gun.
“He seemed very centralised, not moving about much at all when I saw him.”
Mr Bennetts said Mr Gifford added: “I don’t think at that stage that the shooter was in any immediate danger from anyone.”
Mr Gifford’s partner, Annabel Barrow described hearing four shots and seeing a body on the floor.
Mr Bennetts said witness Michael Belhawla recalled seeing a man “moving around acting as if he had a gun and the two other guys moving around acting as if they were dodging the bullets”.
Keith Meads, who was with his partner Patricia Goddard and her daughter Liz, saw a man with a “small machine gun”, Mr Bennetts said.
Mr Bennetts, recounting Mr Meads’ statement, said the gunman “stood square and was aiming and in a stance”.
He added: “He had both hands on it [the gun].
“He was holding it in his right hand and his left hand was steadying himself.
“I saw two shots. There was a bang, bang and two flashes.”
Mr Bennetts said after the event Nela walked off. He was later extradited from Italy on July 9.
In his defence statement, Nela said he had been picking his wife, Victoria Gale, up from work on May 18 when he saw a car being driven by Mr Murataj brake heavily.
He claimed a man armed with a gun got out of the car.
Mr Bennetts said Nela feared being “immediately killed, seriously injured or kidnapped” and wrestled the gun off the man in the car, causing it to fire twice.
Mr Bennetts said: “He does not know if either of those shots were the fatal shot.
He did not intend any of the shots to hit any of the men.”
Nela, of no fixed address, is in custody.
He denies murdering Mr Krasniqi, two counts of attempted murder of Mr Zeneli and Mr Murataj, possession of a 9mm self-loading pistol and possession of a firearm to cause fear of violence.
The trial continues.