FOUR men have today been jailed for a combined 25 years for burglary offences and the possession of a firearm in a Southampton park.

Last year, it was reported that gun shots were heard in River Walk near Riverside Park just after 1am on September 5.

When officers arrived on scene, a large amount of cannabis was found at an address and abandoned in Hippo bags outside in the street.

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Sol Hemy

The body of Sol Hemy was found in the water at Riverside Park, and a post-mortem examination revealed that the 20-year-old died from drowning.

Today, four men were sentenced to a total of 25 years in prison. 

Fardeen Hamidy, Christy Flatherty, Robert Johnston and Ken Mulangala admitted to going to River Walk together to burgle a house that was being used as a cannabis factory. It was put to them they went there to steal the class B drug for their profit.

It was reported that gun fire was heard by residents of River Walk and when the burglary was abandoned by the group, bags of cannabis were left at the scene.

Johnson, Hamidy, Flaherty and Mulangala were later identified as being involved in the burglary on River Walk by Hampshire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit based in Southampton.

Shortly after the incident and when all parties had fled, officers found the body of Mr Hemy in the water at Riverside Park.

On October 27, the pleaded guilty to their crimes.

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Hamidy, 26, of Bursledon Road, Southampton, (above) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of a firearm with intent and was sentenced to eight years and eight months.

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Flaherty, 27, of Malmesbury Road, Southampton (above) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of a firearm with intent and concerned in the supply of cocaine and was sentenced to a total of eight years.

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Johnston, 25, of Tennyson Avenue, Fareham, (above) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of a firearm with intent and was sentenced to five years and four months.

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Mulangala, 18, of East Street, Barking, Essex, (above) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and was sentenced to three years.

Detective Inspector Andy Symes said: “It is clear this case highlights the violence and harm associated with drug supply.

“On September 5 2019, this group of young men decided they would try and steal a large amount of cannabis, for their own gain, on a residential street, without any regard for the rest of the community and how their actions would affect others. It must have been terrifying being a resident in River Walk that night, and hearing gun shots in their neighbourhood.

“I want to thank those who reported the incident to us and assisted our investigation as to what they saw and heard that night.

"Drug supply  and cultivation of any kind, not just Class A, is linked to serious violence and causes misery to communities. It is vital that people continue to report any suspicious or drug related activity to us.”

Enquiries into the death of Mr Hemy are ongoing.