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Hooded gunman kills man in car; girlfriend, children escape injury

Hooded gunman kills man in car; girlfriend, children escape injury

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The life of crime of Leslie Ashton, a labourer, originally from South Rivers, ended in a hail of bullets over the weekend.

Ashton was pumped full of bullets by a man in dark clothes, a hoodie and a hat last Saturday, February 24, at around 9 p.m. in the Diamond, King’s Hill area.

The 38-year-old, who was driving a black Toyota Caldina with his girlfriend and her two children as passengers, was on his way home, when a gunman opened fire on the vehicle.

Ashton, also known as “Yankee” and “Nines,” drove the vehicle into his neighbour’s yard, after which the gunman ran up to the car, pumping several rounds into his body, killing him on the spot and fleeing the scene.

One of Ashton’s neighbours said that she was ironing when she heard about six gunshots ring out in the area. She said when the gunfire died down, she looked outside and saw Ashton’s car parked in her yard and her father-in-law went to check on the car and realized that Ashton had been shot.

She said that the dead man’s girlfriend and her two children were still in the

vehicle and her father-in-law told them to get out and escorted them inside his home.

She said the morning before his death, Ashton told her that someone was in her yard earlier that morning, but she did not know this. She said she had heard Ashton’s car alarm go off and her father-in-law said that he heard their back gate slam, but did not pay attention to any of this.

It is being alleged that the person who shot Ashton had set off his car alarm the morning of the incident, with the intention of luring Ashton out of his apartment. Unconfirmed reports are that Ashton may have shot at the suspicious character who set off the car alarm.  

Ashton is a known face on the criminal court scene in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

In 2004, he was arrested at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados with marijuana and did time in that country. Ashton also lived in Barbados for a while, where he was in and out of trouble with the law.

On his return to St Vincent, Ashton’s name was mentioned in several incidents, including discharging a firearm at South Rivers and a high profile robbery for which he was never charged.

He shot to notoriety on October 10, 2007, when he was accused of gunning down Sean “Junior” Clouden of Edinboro at Sans Souci, outside the Drop Off Night Club. Ashton was beaten by an angry mob after Clouden’s shooting and appeared at the Serious Offences Court on Wednesday, October 22, 2008, where he was remanded in custody. In addition to the murder charge, Ashton was slapped with another charge for having in his possession 11 rounds of .38 special ammunition without a licence, to which he pleaded not guilty.

After the incident at Sans Souci, Ashton was hospitalized for several days. He was later freed of the killing of 25-year-old Clouden, who was shot while entering his car. After being freed of Clouden’s murder, Ashton was convicted of possession of 11 rounds of ammunition.

Nearly a year after being set free of the murder charge, Ashton, whose address was given as Campden Park, was back behind bars. He appeared at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Monday, January 3, 2011, jointly charged with Romando Andrews, 19, a labourer of Peruvian Vale, for entering the dwelling house of Basil Leroy Williams, 57, of Queen’s Drive, and stealing a quantity of electronic equipment, valued over $16,000 and a quantity of alcoholic drinks, valued over $6,000, between November 21, 2010, and December 3, 2010.

Ashton was also charged with dishonestly receiving stolen goods between the aforementioned dates.

Ashton was on the run for three days and was nabbed in the Sion Hill Bay area, after an attempt by his then attorney Grant Connell to turn him in. During that time, he was placed on a wanted list by the police, who wanted to question him in relation to an ongoing investigation about a plot to murder Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.

Ashton was never charged in relation to this alleged plot, but spent a substantial amount of time on remand at HMP. He is the fifth person killed violently here this month and the ninth person shot in February. Police are investigating.

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