WHEN the police stopped a car in the Radford area of Coventry they discovered a stash of what a judge described as ‘seriously unpleasant’ Medieval-looking weapons in the back.
There were three baseball bats heavily wrapped with barbed wire and two wooden poles with nail-embedded lumps of concrete on the ends and also wrapped in barbed wire.
All three men in the car were arrested over the Walking Dead-style weapons, and at Warwick Crown Court driver Shaban Brika pleaded guilty to possessing offensive weapons.
Brika (45) of no fixed address, was jailed for 20 months.
The other two men, his son Mohammed Brika (21) and Albert Cajka (28) also both of no fixed address, had pleaded not guilty.
And on the day of their trial the case against them was dropped after prosecutor Ian Windridge said neither of the police officers who had been due to give evidence had attended.
One said he was a single parent and his child had chicken pox, while the other said it was ‘not convenient’ because his wife, also a police officer, was giving evidence in a murder trial at another court and they had no other child-care arrangement.
Judge Sylvia de Bertodano commented: “These are very, very unpleasant weapons, but if you haven’t got the evidence, you haven’t got the evidence.”
A further charge against all three of possessing a water gun believed to contain diluted hydrochloric acid was also dropped – because the police had failed to get the liquid analysed.
Prosecutor Ian Windridge said that at 7.30 in the evening on Sunday December 9 last year the police went to the Radford area of Coventry after being alerted to look for a grey VW Sharan car.
Officers stopped it in Moseley Avenue and found Brika to be the driver, with his son in the front passenger seat and Cajka in the rear.
And among workmen’s tools in the back of the estate car they found the cache of ferocious-looking weapons and the water pistol, so all three men were arrested.
When he was interviewed Brika said two men from London had given him a security job looking after a warehouse, and he knew the bats were in the car, having been put there by those men for him to deliver to the warehouse.
But Mr Windridge said that when the ‘particularly awesome weapons’ which could cause ‘a significant amount of injury’ were tested, one of the bats was found to have Brika’s DNA on it.
And of the weapons, Judge de Bertodano commented: “They are quite Medieval.”
James Riley, defending, agreed: “They seem over-the-top.
“The defendant’s case is that he’s a builder, and the Super Soaker had brick-cleaner in it, and he was going to a job.”
Explaining why the prosecution was offering no evidence on that charge, Mr Windridge said the prosecution case had been that it was hydrochloric acid, and that on Brika’s case it would have had an acidic content, but very diluted.
After an earlier hearing the liquid was to be sent away for forensic examination – but that had not happened, and ‘the sample is still sitting in the secure safe at the police station.’
Of the baseball bats and poles, Mr Riley said: “The two people who had put the weapons in the vehicle, he was taking them to the warehouse for.
“He said he was going to be paid to deliver them to the warehouse where he was going to do a security job. The fact is, they had never come out of the car.”
Sentencing Brika, Judge de Bertodano told him: “The police came out on a Sunday evening to a residential street and found you driving a VW which had work items in it, but which also had five very seriously unpleasant weapons.
“There were three baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire and two poles wrapped in barbed wire with nails protruding from the ends. They are very nasty weapons indeed. They are made to inflict really serious injuries.
“You knew full-well they were in the car. I accept you may not have put them there, but you were driving them about.
“These are highly dangerous weapons. There is a risk of serious disorder when these sorts of weapons in that quantity are in a car with three adult males in a residential street. Of course they were not taken out, but this is about risk.”