Rogue Firearms Dealer Sentenced To 30 Years Imprisonment
21st December 2017
Registered Firearms Dealer Paul Edmunds has been sentenced to 30 years imprisonment following a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court today (21 Dec 2017).
The 66 year old of Hardwicke in Gloucestershire was convicted of several firearms offences last month following a six week trial which began on October 2nd.
He was found guilty of conspiracy to transport guns and ammunition to criminals and items provided by him were linked to three murder cases and 11 other injury shootings. In total police investigated 107 crime events between August 2011 and August 2017.
Experts at the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) helped to uncover the crime pattern after noticing similarities in markings on ammunition being submitted to the Birmingham lab. Gregg Taylor was commended by the Judge for his work on the case.
NABIS work with police forces around the UK following gun crime incidents. Our forensic experts can match bullets to firearms and spot trends.
Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Chilton, Head of NABIS, said: "We are satisfied with the sentence handed down today and hope this sends out a clear message that offenders will be caught and brought to justice.
"This was a complex, ground-breaking case and our dedicated ballistic experts worked hard to support West Midlands Police. Firearms in the wrong hands can ruin lives and we want to help make our communities safer.
"Most Registered Firearms Dealers give us no cause for alarm and work within the law. Edmunds got drawn into the criminal world and is now paying a heavy price for that."
NABIS supported the recent Home Office public consultation on antique firearms (which ended last week) and is calling for clearer legislation to tighten any loopholes. We have seen an increase in criminals using antique, or obsolete calibre, firearms. This is due to the fact that the guns are easy to obtain without a firearms licence and an antique firearm can be bought with cash with no audit trail. An antique firearm is legal to possess as a curio or ornament; it becomes illegal if you load it with ammunition.
His Honour Judge Bond sentenced Edmunds at Birmingham Crown Court and made comments regarding current firearms legislation in relation to the possession of handguns and particular types of rifles in England & Wales and the way that the possession of firearms are currently recorded.
The Judge said he hoped his comments would stimulate public debate. He added: "I normally would not say anything about legislation; that is a matter for an elected parliament and not for the judiciary. But here I am driven to make these comments because of the present climate regarding firearms. Certainly in Birmingham, the courts are seeing more and more offences being committed by criminals armed with these weapons that cause absolute misery within our communities.
"The families of those people murdered by offenders using firearms suffer unnecessary and avoidable torment and sorrow. We need to ensure that the availability of such weapons that are capable of being discharged is reduced."
The trial heard that Edmunds had a love of firearms and was known as 'Mr Winchester' due to his knowledge and regular trading. He visited gun fairs and travelled to the USA several times a year to purchase firearms. His arrest in 2015 cut off a major firearms supply chain in the West Midlands area and beyond.
A total of 17 guns imported by Edmunds from the US, plus 1,000 rounds of ammunition linked to him, have been recovered by police at UK crime scenes.
However, it's suspected more guns seized by police across the country passed through his hands; the exact number isn't clear as Edmunds failed to accurately record serial numbers in his firearms register. A firearm linked to Edmunds was recovered in Birmingham as recently as November this year.
Judge Bond added: "Almost all firearms holders are decent, responsible and careful people who understand their responsibilities fully. Unfortunately, as this case has proved, it takes just one person to act in breach of the trust placed in them and death and mayhem follows."
Edmunds was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for the main offence of conspiracy to transfer prohibited firearms and ammunition, Judge Bond described him as 'the lynch pin' to this conspiracy. Other sentences were handed out to run concurrently.
Fraudulent evasion of a prohibition or restriction under the Customs & Excise Management Act - Edmunds declared Colts to be antiques and they were not, he was sentenced to 15 years
Illegal possession of three prohibited Thompson Contender firearms - sentence of seven years. Perverting the course of justice by falsifying his firearms register - sentence of five years. Perverting the course of justice by tampering with a primer tool - sentence of three years. Possession of a prohibited Brocock air pistol - sentence of three years.
Fraudulent evasion of a control order under the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979 that applied to ammunition exported by Edmunds to France - sentence of two years (discount given for the guilty plea).
Possession of a prohibited stun gun - sentence of two years (discount given for a guilty plea).
His accomplice Dr Mohinder Surdhar, of Handsworth in Birmingham, has already admitted a conspiracy offence in relation to firearms and is due to be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday 22 December.