THE ACQUITTAL of a man charged with murdering a Bulwell dad has finally brought an end to a two-year investigation that centred on a “Wild-West-style shooting”.
Father-of-two Bernard Langton (27) was executed in cold blood in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday, May 25 2009, in Nottingham city centre.
He was shot dead by Anthony Tirado (25), of Ballerat Crescent, Top Valley, on the orders of self-confessed drug-dealer Dion Griffin (35), of Hogan Gardens, Top Valley.
Mr Langton was killed in revenge because he had stabbed Alex James in the former Paris nightclub on Broadway after a violent clash which erupted when Mr Langton was hit over the head with a champagne bottle by James.
Griffin and Tirado were found guilty of murder and are now serving life sentences.
Also charged with Mr Langton’s murder was David Stokes (29), of Collindale Road, Birmingham.
But now a jury has failed to reach a verdict for a second time at Birmingham Crown Court and Stokes has been found not guilty and released from custody.
The decision comes as a huge relief to Mr Stokes’s finacee, Claire Timson, of Bulwell, who has described “two years of hell”.
She says Mr Stokes, who has a clean criminal record, is “nice and kind and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
The prosecution alleged that Mr Stokes pointed out Mr Langton to Tirado and was therefore complicit in the murder.
Mr Langton was found bleeding to death in an alleyway on Pilcher Gate in the city’s Lace Market area. Police officers gave first aid until paramedics could arrive.
The court heard claims that Mr Stokes was among a mob, including Griffin and Tirado, who gathered at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and stopped Mr Langton from gaining treatment by surrounding the ambulance.
But Mr Stokes has always denied any involvement in the murder.
Det Chief Insp Kate Meynell said: “This has been a complex case which required in-depth analysis of CCTV footage and evidence from witnesses who saw what happened before, during and after Bernard was killed.
“Everyone involved in this investigation has been driven by a determination to find his killers and deliver the justice that he and his family deserve.
“Our evidence was presented to the Crown Prosecution Service and as a result, three men were charged with murder and one was charged with assisting an offender.
“The convictions of Anthony Tirado and Dion Griffin and the case against David Stokes being discharged brings an end to this investigation.
“Our thoughts, as always, are with Bernard’s family at this difficult time.”
The leader of Nottingham City Council and the chairman of Nottinghamshire Police Authority, Coun Jon Collins (Lab), said:
“Cases like this are, thankfully, rare in Nottingham as we have cracked down on gun crime and seen a 71% fall in this are over the last seven years.
“Bringing people who use guns to justice is an important part of tackling the problem.”