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The chilling rap that saw Stephen Dunford jailed for life

Written by on 08/10/2020

A gang member has been jailed for life after shooting a 12-year-old boy in a drive-by attack – and police said the most compelling evidence in his trial was a bragging rap he wrote about his deeds.

The victim was standing outside a local shop with his friends in Sheffield when he was shot in the thigh by 26-year-old Stephen Dunford on January 12 this year.

A stray bullet narrowly missed the head and neck of another boy, hitting his hood instead.

Dunford, of Fellbrigg Avenue, had denied his part in the attack and claimed that he had been at his grandparents’ house eating Sunday lunch when it happened.

But a string of evidence led to his arrest and charge.

Detective Chief Inspector Jade Brice, investigating, said that what was “perhaps the most compelling evidence” against Dunford was a rap that he had written and performed over a prison telephone.

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Unbeknown to Dunford, the telephone call was being recorded and his bragging-song was submitted as evidence at a six-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court, which concluded on September 21.

His rap made reference to hitting a “youth with a stray” and turning a “man’s hood into a vest top”, believed to be a nod to the bullet which hit one of the boys’ hoods.

Following the guilty verdict, DCI Brice said: “During a phone call from prison, Dunford recited a rap that he had written himself, containing lyrics about his involvement in the shooting, in which a ‘youth was hit by a stray’, a reference to a bullet.

“The phone call was recorded and after being shared on social media, was seized by officers investigating the incident.

“Dunford is likely to now spend a significant period of time in prison and I know this will be a great relief to the Sheffield community and particularly the people of Arbourthorne.

“We could quite easily be talking about the death of a 12-year-old, thankfully that is not the case.”

The rap that incriminated Dunford

South Yorkshire Police have released the following excerpt of the rap that Dunford wrote and performed about the events of January 12.

I was really trying to take him away huh
Then a youth got a stray

Now I’m sat up in my cell, head up in my hands
If I don’t bust case then it’s life in the can

Yo catch round the bits if I didn’t have my man bag my ting was on my hip
Anytime I see man I empty my clip

If I get guilty I’m getting life’d off

Guilty of attempted murder

Dunford was found guilty of the drive-by shooting which had happened in Northern Avenue, Arbourthorne on January 12.

At his sentencing on Wednesday, Dunford was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 19 years, for attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

He was also found guilty of an additional charge of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, in connection to a shooting in Northcote Avenue on January 10.

Brandon Bailey was sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison
(Image: South Yorkshire Police)

A second man, Brandon Bailey, 26, of Manor Park Way, was found guilty of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and he had previously pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property on August 27.

A third man, Devon Gregory, 23, of Heeley Green, who had been charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, was found not guilty and acquitted of all charges.