COURT REPORT: Coton Lane hit and run murderer, Tony Green, sentenced to 20 years behind bars – report from the courtroom

Words by Adam Smith / Crime scene pics by Ed King, profile pic & video courstesy of West Midlands Police

Tony Green has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years for murdering Shkelzen Taka outside an Erdington brothel in the early hours of Boxing Day morning.

The entire incident was captured on CCTV and West Midlands Police have released harrowing footage of the final moments of Mr Taka’s life – which helped the jury convict Green of murder.

At Birmingham Crown Court this morning Judge Melbourne Inman told 27-year-old Green, of Suffield Grove, he had used his car as a “lethal weapon” to kill Mr Taka who sustained catastrophic head injuries when a road sign Green’s car crashed into landed on his head.

Judge Inman said: “The injuries caused to Mr Taka were truly horrific. The pole struck him with such force it split his head into two. His brain was recovered separately.

“You continued to drive over him in reverse and back over him to get away. You drove away.”

The court heard Green and Taka, 28, had exchanged brief words outside Ayurveda Health Spa Sauna, Coton Lane, at around 6am as Green was leaving and his victim and friend were entering. From this moment Green, who had been drinking brandy and wine throughout Christmas Day, was then intent on seriously injuring his victim.

Green, hoping Taka would leave the brothel so he could attack him, then jumped on Taka’s car’s bonnet and smashed his windscreen.

The commotion caused Taka to leave the brothel, get a metal bar and try to hit Green’s Skoda. Green then reversed as fast as he could at his victim, escaping the scene after killing him.

Green denied being responsible for destroying evidence after his car was found on fire later that day saying the blaze was “bad luck”.

He also claimed he reversed by mistake after having had problems with the gear box.

The jury took just an hour to convict Green of murder.

Mr Taka’s siter Sonila said: “Shkelzen was a much-loved brother and partner and his family are devastated at his loss.

“The pain we feel is not easily cured – pain in the soul that breaks me into a thousand pieces.”

Judge Inman paid tribute to the victim as he began sentencing. Addressing the defendant, who was dressed in an Adidas tracksuit and had several family members in court, he said: “Shkelzen Taka was only 28 years of age when you killed him.

“He had his life before him. He had come to this country from Albania and supported his family.

“No-one listening to the statements of friends and family could fail to have been moved by the love clearly held by those who knew him and the depth of their grief. They are clearly going to find it difficult to ever come to terms with their loss.”

Judge Inman outlined several points when Green could have left the scene but was instead in a “highly aggressive state of mind” and was intent on murder.

Referencing Green’s previous convictions as a drug dealer the Judge said he was “not of good character” but took into account he had not been in court for violence before.

The minimum sentence the judge could have handed down was 15 years but he instead he sentenced Green to a minimum of 20 years behind bars.

Green shook his head when told the sentence and there were gasps of anguish from his family, one of whom said: “disgusting”. When led away to the cells Green gave his family a thumbs up.

Three family members of the victim sat in silence throughout the proceedings.

Detective Inspector Wes Martin, from the force’s Homicide Unit, helped build the case against Green.

He said: “This is a tragic case where a chance encounter has led to the death of a family man and the imprisonment of another for life.

“All too often impetuous acts of violence lead to tragedy as we have seen here.”

He added: “My thoughts remain with Shkelzen’s family who continue to mourn his loss.”

Mark Heywood, defending, said: “He is still a comparatively young man. He has a supportive family split between two parts of the country. This has been a terrible experience for all of them but I am sure nothing compared to the family of the unfortunate Mr Taka.

“He has always been deeply affected by the death regardless of how he chose to conduct the trial.”

CCTV footage of Tony Green damaging car and attacking Shkelzen Taka

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