Elton Charles (51), the Afro-Caribbean husband of Laura Patten (48), the sister of “Rang de Basanti” actress Alice Patten and middle daughter of former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten, was convicted on Tuesday at Kingston Crown Court of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. His co-defendants Nicolas Grant (46) and Lee Morgan (42) were also convicted for their parts in the shooting at the restaurant, the PBK in Greenford, West London. Nathaniel St Aimie, the half-brother of Charles, previously pleaded guilty to the same charges. The four men will be sentenced on September 15 and are likely to be sent to prison. Laura Patten wept as the verdicts were announced.
The court had heard how on the evening of September 6 last year a hooded gunman jumped out of a passing white Volkswagen van and opened fire at the Punjabi restaurant using a sawn-off shotgun, firing a single cartridge into the window as Charles waited nearby. The blast shattered the window, terrifying diners, including children, inside. The jury was told that the gang of four men had wanted to terrorise the restaurant owner and it was “good fortune that no one was hurt”.
Charles claimed that he had nothing to do with the shooting and that he had gone to Greenford to meet his half-brother to collect some cannabis.
However, the jury decided that Charles was the getaway driver and had helped St Aimie carry out the attack.
Restaurant owner Simranjit Kaur (39), who moved to the UK from Ludhiana, told TOI that she was pleased with the convictions but she did not know the men and was convinced they were contracted to shoot at her restaurant to instil fear in her. Kaur, who is twice divorced and a single mother of five kids, said:“Why would a black guy come to my restaurant and shoot? My van got stolen outside my house and then this happened. I think it was a hit job. I want the police to find out who was paying them. I don’t feel safe anymore. I am a young Asian woman who runs four businesses by myself and it is the success people don’t like. It was hatred, jealousy.”