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Desilva found guilty of Edness murder

Jaquii Pearman Desilva is led away after the guilty verdict. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Police welcomed the conviction of Jaquii Pearman Desilva last night after he was found guilty of the cold-blooded murder of gang member and self-confessed drug dealer Prince Edness.

Mr Edness, 29, was gunned down outside a Southampton property on December 7 last year, just over two weeks after he walked free from court having been cleared of the 2006 murder of teenager Jason Lightbourne.

Yesterday afternoon, Desilva, 20, was convicted of killing Mr Edness as well as firing at police officers as he fled the scene.

“No matter who the victim is justice must prevail — it must be seen to be done,” said Detective Sergeant Jason Smith outside court.

“All lives matter and where there is a crime it is the job of the police to investigate and bring those responsible to justice and that is what we have done.”

Chief Inspector Na’imah Astwood added: “Justice has spoken. Right from the beginning we had a very focused investigation.

“Witnesses are always critical in cases like this — they add a level of independence and credibility to the case — and we are very grateful for all those who gave evidence during the trial.”

During the eight-day trial jurors heard how Mr Edness was shot dead in front of a South Avenue property by a pillion passenger on a motorbike shortly after leaving Southampton Rangers.

Prosecutors alleged that Desilva was the gunman on the back of the bike who later opened fire at officers close to the Waterlot Inn after a high-speed chase.

Later, detectives seized a bandanna and a bike helmet that had Desilva’s DNA and particles commonly associated with gunshot residue (GSR) at his girlfriend’s house. Traces of the elements that make up GSR were also found in the passenger seat of a vehicle that Desilva travelled in after the shooting.

Witness Tillie Caisey told the Supreme Court that Desilva knocked on the door of her Riviera Road home — close to where the police chase ended — shortly after Mr Edness had been shot dead.

She said she had not known Desilva at the time and described how he had been sick on his trousers and asked her if he could come inside her home and close the door.

Desilva was later arrested after trying to escape from the police again by jumping off a 50ft cliff into the sea close to the guesthouse where he had been staying.

During the trial Detective Constable Leroy Mathurin told jurors that police suspected that Mr Edness was murdered by members of his own gang.

“From early in the investigation we received information that Mr Edness was murdered by his own colleagues, members of Parkside,” he said. “The reason was because the information suggested they were of the opinion that he was giving information to the police.”

Desilva chose not to take the stand and give evidence at his trial.

Yesterday the jury took over five hours to find him guilty of murdering Mr Edness by a majority of 11 — 1. He was also convicted of using a firearm to commit and indictable offence, using a firearm while trying to flee from police and possessing a firearm and ammunition.

He was remanded in custody while pre-sentence reports are prepared and is likely to be sentenced before October 23.

A second man, Joshua Usher, 22, who prosecutors claimed was the motorbike driver, had previously been cleared of any involvement in the crime on the instruction of Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves.