Man jailed when four-year-old finds gun in Maida Vale

A man who stashed a handgun found by a four-year-old boy on a Maida Vale estate has been jailed for three years.

The child pointed out the package to his mother as she threw rubbish down a bin chute of Braemar House on Maida Vale.

Alaadine Mohammed, 20, who lived on the fifth floor of Braemar House admitted concealing the bag - which contained a gun and four bullets - but claimed he thought it held drugs.

Prosecutors at Southwark Crown Court argued Mohammed would have immediately known what was in the bag by the weight and shape of the package.

After a two-day hearing, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith rejected Mohammed’s argument. He said: “The problem with this argument is that a housewife looked in the bag and saw a black and blue plastic bag with elastic bands around and she said: ‘I could see it was a gun because of the shape’.

“On the CCTV footage you can see she looks in the bag and it is apparent that she is almost immediately aware.

“It seems to me that anybody who looked in the bag would have immediately realised that this wasn’t skunk and that it was a gun.”

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Footage taken from security cameras in the building showed the little boy, wearing a blue gown, skipping ahead of his mother as she went to throw bags of rubbish away on July 31 last year.

After her son found the package, the woman realised what she was holding, took it into her flat and called the police before fleeing the estate with her three children.

Once police had arrived and the weapon removed, CCTV showed Mohammed, a construction student at Acton College, coming out of the lift to look for the gun – a modified handgun known as a Melcher.

The court heard Mohammed had been made mentally ill by smoking too much cannabis.

A psychological report concluded that Mohammed was ‘very compliant’ and ‘extremely acquiescent’ because he did not like confrontation – a reason for why he hid the weapon.

The report also stated Mohammed was so hooked on skunk - a strong form of cannabis - he had developed a ‘mental disorder as a result of his cannabis use’.

Mohammed told the court the man who had asked him to hide the bag was disliked by his other friends and regarded as a bad influence.

“He used to come to my building and we would smoke cannabis,” he said.

On the night of the incident, he said the friend told him to come and meet him as he had some cannabis.

“He said: ‘I have some weed, let’s leave it somewhere because I don’t want the police to stop us’,” Mohammed added.

“The bag was just supposed to be there a little while.”

Mohammed admitted possessing a prohibited firearm and ammunition without a firearm certificate, but he denied knowing what was in the bag when he agreed to hide it.

Passing sentence Judge Loraine-Smith said there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ in the case and that he would not pass the mandatory sentence of five years.