A gunman has been jailed for 25 years for shooting a man in the chest at point-blank range in a suspected drugs patch dispute.
West Midlands Police used advanced facial mapping technology – digitally comparing Chad Greatbatch’s features with CCTV of the offender – to prove he pulled the trigger.
Greatbatch shot his victim – who was sat in a parked car on Tiverton Road, Selly Oak – with a 9mm pistol just before 11.30pm on 10 July last year.
The bullet passed through the driver’s door window and hit the 27-year-old in the shoulder, travelling through his chest before lodging under skin on his neck; doctors said he was very lucky to survive.
Greatbatch fled the scene but was stopped by police four days later driving a car in Bristol Road, Edgbaston, when officers found a loaded St Ettiene revolver in the foot-well.
He was handed a six-and-a-half year jail sentence last September for possessing a firearm and drugs supply but detectives were not able to irrefutably show the 21-year-old was the gunman.
However, detectives used facial mapping to show a strong likeness between Greatbatch and the man caught on camera discharging the pistol – and examination of his phone revealed internet searches to source handguns.
And they were also able to harness mapping technology to show “strong support” that a car seized from Greatbatch was the same one used to commit the offence.
He initially denied attempted murder but went on to enter a guilty plea – and at Birmingham Crown Court on October 6 he was jailed for 25 years.
The sentence will run consecutively to his current jail term which means he faces more than 30 years behind bars.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Gareth Johnson, said: “The motive for the shooting is not exactly clear – but it was a targeted attack understood to be connected to drug dealing.
“What is for certain is that the victim had a near miraculous escape: the bullet travelled through his chest yet he managed to get out of the car and run for help.
“Despite coming close to being killed, the victim refused to co-operate with the enquiry – but just because a victim won’t talk to us does not mean we can’t push for a prosecution and conviction.
“We had Greatbatch in police custody just a few days after the shooting and he has now been taken out of society for a very long time and no longer poses a danger.
“Facial mapping is just one of the tools available to detectives these days and is helping us achieve convictions against dangerous offenders and make sure they can’t evade justice.”
Greatbatch was linked to gang activity in Birmingham – and Detective Chief Inspector Nick Dale warned that the net was closing in on people linked to organised crime in the south of the city.
He said: “There’s been a series of high-profile incidents this year that have understandably caused concern in the community. It is unacceptable people are being made to feel fearful in their communities, we understand those concerns and have taken action.
“Our enquiries have identified a number of people we suspect are aligning themselves with gangs, rest assured we will be taking strong action against these individuals that could see them put before the courts and potentially jailed.
“The public are our eyes and ears on the ground; if you suspect anyone is involved in gang related crime or anti-social behaviour then please contact us in confidence so we can take action.”
Anyone with information about criminality in their community is urged to call West Midlands Police on 101 or the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.