FOUR people have been convicted for their parts in an armed incident in Grays thanks to the work of investigators in the serious crime directorate.
On Tuesday 13 September 2022, three men drove to the Lakeside Retail Park, in Grays, arriving just before 2pm. Two of the men went into a store to shop whilst one of the group waited in a Mercedes car.
Shortly after, a Nissan Juke arrived and parked. Rio Burton-Devine and Forrest Bentick then got out of that car.
As the two victims exited the store to return to their Mercedes car, their paths crossed with Devine-Brown and Bentick. Moments later Burton-Devine pulled a firearm and wrapped in green fabric and pointed it towards the victims.
Witnesses reported hearing loud bangs and seeing smoke emanating from the firearm.
Thankfully, both men, aged in their 20s, were not hurt and got back into their car and all three drove away.
A complex and detailed investigation was launched by our detectives in our serious and organised crime unit. As a result of that work, they were quickly able to identify people of significant interest.
Rio Burton-Devine was arrested three days later in London whilst Forrest Bentick was arrested on Sunday 9 October after the car in which he was passenger was pursued by officers in Waltham Abbey.
Bentick decamped from the Audi A1 after its driver crashed into a member of the public’s car. A foot chase ensued by an armed officer who tackled Bentick to the ground.
As other officers arrived at the scene, they discovered Forrest Bentick was in possession of an imitation firearm loaded with three rounds and knife was concealed in his waistband. Officers also arrested Chantel Fowler, who was driving at the time, as she waited in the car.
As the investigation continued, officers executed a warrant in Huntsman Drive, Ilford, on 10 October 2022 where Forrest Bentick and Chantel Fowler were believed to live. Once there, officers found the Nissan Juke used during the Thurrock incident, but displaying false registration plates. The key to this car was in Bentick’s possession when he was arrested.
Upon searching the Huntsman Drive property, officers discovered cocaine, MDMA and about 4kg of cannabis. Officers went on to find £15,000 cash in a wardrobe, multiple phones and an air-powered weapon.
Adam Yildaz who was present during the warrant was arrested.
Rio Burton-Devine, 24, of no fixed abode, admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Adam Yildaz, 26 of Huntsman Road, Ilford, admitted two counts of possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply, possessing a Class B with intent to supply and acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.
Bentick, 24, of no fixed abode denied possessing an imitation firearm, with intent to cause fear of violence, possessing a prohibited firearm, possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate, possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply, possession of a Class B drug with intent to supply and acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.
He did, however, admit having a bladed article.
Chantel Fowler, 25 of Aldriche Way, Waltham Forest, London, denied dangerous driving and acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.
Bentick and Fowler were found guilty of all charges on Wednesday 5 July after a three week trial.
The whole group will be sentenced in the week commencing 14 August.
Detective Inspector Yoni Adler, who led our investigation, said: “To call Rio Burton-Devine and Forrest Bentick’s actions anything other than dangerous and reckless would be an understatement. It is not an overstatement to say they could have injured many innocent people as a result of their actions.
“Thankfully, the investigation team was quickly able to piece together the circumstances around this incident and identify all those involved, arrest them and charge them.
“For some, the evidence provided was so overwhelming that they had no option but to admit their guilty. For Bentick and Fowler, they denied much of their actions but the jury saw through their accounts and found them guilty.
“I have absolutely no doubt our county is a safer place for their convictions.”