Saturday Hassan, aged 30, was found guilty on 25 November of the murder of Darren Deslandes, aged 34, on 1 January this year. He was also found guilty of the attempted murder of Darren’s brother.
Hassan was found not guilty for the attempted murder of Darren’s father, Wintworth Deslandes.
On Thursday 31 December the Deslandes family, who ran the Newton Arms Pub in Queen’s Road, Croydon held a New Year’s Eve party for their family and friends.
Wintworth Deslandes, the Landlord, hosted the party with his wife Lurline, and his two sons Darren and Junior helped behind the bar.
The party ran on long into the night at approx 0500 on the morning of the 1 January, a squabble broke out near to the small dance floor and DJ turn tables. The argument was between a man and Saturday Hassan over a girl Saturday had been talking to.
Saturday walked away from the argument and was seen to grab a bottle from the bar. Junior Deslandes acted quickly and pushed Saturday Hassan across the pub to near the front door. Darren rushed over to assist his brother and they bundled Hassan out of the pub.
Less than ten minutes later, the family and a few stragglers were clearing up in the pub. Saturday Hassan walked straight in and up to the bar asking ‘where is he?’ He then reached under his top to pull a gun out of his waistband. Junior and Darren came out from behind the bar and saw the gun in Hassan’s hand. Darren at first attempted to walk Hassan towards the front door but in a matter of moments both Junior and Darren grabbed Hassan and pushed him towards the front door.
Shortly after the gun was fired, both Darren and Junior collapsed on the floor. The brothers fell so that they are lying next to each other, both of them seriously injured. Hassan tried to make his escape out of the front door but couldn’t get out; the CCTV showed him stumbling back over the brothers on the floor, before pointing the gun at Wintworth Deslandes. Hassan pulled the trigger several more times, in an attempt to shoot Wintworth but the ammunition had run out and witnesses heard the gun clicking. Hassan then ran out of the pub, with Wintworth, despite being shot at, in hot pursuit.
Darren Deslandes suffered a fatal gunshot to his head and was also shot in both his arms. London Ambulance service treated him at the scene but they were unable to save him. Darren was pronounced dead at 0550.
Darren’s brother Junior was also shot in the head, and had two other gunshot wounds to his face and neck. He was in a critical condition and was in a coma for a period of time. Junior is still recovering from his injuries.
Hassan managed to get away but through enquiries officers quickly identified him and arrested him at an address on the Sydenham Hill Estate on 7 January.
Hassan denied murdering Darren and trying to kill Wintworth and Junior – stating that he did not have a gun when he returned to the pub. However, the whole incident was caught on the two CCTV cameras inside the pub which clearly shows him removing the gun from his waistband and later pointing it at people in the pub, Hassan decided to make no comment to any further questions from Detectives.
Detective Chief Inspector Gordon Allison from Trident said: "Hassan ruthlessly brought a gun into the Deslandes’ family pub with the intention of killing the men who had bruised his ego only minutes earlier.
"The Deslandes family have never had any involvement in criminality, no reason to be the target of Hassan other than he had been removed from the family pub when an argument broke out.
"It is incredible that Hassan thought that he could bring a gun into this family party and get away with committing murder. Thanks to the CCTV in the pub, and the cooperation of witnesses we had clear pictures of exactly what happened.
"I hope that the Deslandes family feel justice has been served today and that the local community can now live without the threat of a violent criminal like Hassan in their midst.
"Our thoughts go out to the family at this time and hope that this sentence today sends a clear message to the people who threaten the safety of Londoners by the use of firearms. Operation Trident will continue to hunt you down and ensure that you are answerable for your acts in court."