Date: 13 Sep 2003
Place: Park Row, Clifton, Bristol
Stephen Henry was shot in a gang related shooting outside the Level Nightclub in Park Row as he went to his car.
Six people were tried for conspiracy to murder him but were acquitted. Two other people had also been charged but the jury were unable to arrive at a verdict in their cases and it was stated that they faced the possibility of a future trial. They were retried a year later and cleared.
The court heard that Stephen Henry was a drugs gang enforcer and that his murder had been a contract killing that had developed out of a drugs turf war that had involved tit-for-tat shootings and kidnappings. It was said that the two gangs had been chasing the same sections of the drugs market and that the rival gang had decided to demonstrate their authority indirectly by killing the bodyguard, Stephen Henry, of the other gang’s leader instead of making a direct hit on the leader in a way that would communicate a mobster message. It was said that the hit had required careful planning with assistance from others.
It was also heard that the gang leader, to whom Stephen Henry was associated, had been convicted in connection with a shooting and that his two brothers, who were later convicted for major drugs offences, were putting pressure on the other gang over an alleged outstanding debt of £100,000 for heroin and cocaine.
Stephen Henry was shot three times at point blank range as he was getting into his bright yellow Fiat Punto outside the club in the early hours of 14 September 2003.
He had been out in the club with two women. When questioned, a woman described seeing the gunman and said that he was a black man with a short distinctive moustache with squared ends. The police said that they thought that the gunman had been watching him in the club and then gone outside and shot him. They said that he had then run off towards the Bristol University buildings.
The investigation into his murder took two years and cost £1m. It had involved over 500 policemen, included 60 police raids and over 180,000 mobile phone records and 4,000 documents were seized.
In 2010, it was reported that the two brothers involved with the drugs gang that Stephen Henry worked for, were arrested and convicted for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. They were said to have lived lavish lifestyles at the time that Stephen Henry had worked for them, building an empire from smuggling heroin in from Turkey. However, the police said that they were having a difficult time in developing a case against them and instead bugged their homes and cars and started to target their associates, including dealers, to the extent that people didn't want to do business with them. When they had their overseas accounts frozen and sports cars repossessed and were beginning to run out of money they were forced to take risks and attempted to close a drugs deal directly at which point the police arrested them.