Gunman jailed thanks to dog's DNA
A violent thug responsible for a terrifying carjacking at gunpoint was jailed thanks to crucial DNA from his pet dog, police said.
Dog hairs and blood samples were matched to Peter Mahoney's Staffordshire bull terrier, Buster, after the car he stole was found burnt out.
Mahoney, 33, of Anerley Road, Norwood, south east London, was handed an indeterminate sentence and told he will serve at least four years behind bars.
Maidstone Crown Court heard he racially abused a customer in a shop in Anerley Road, Norwood, after an exchange over the use of a mobile phone on November 5, 2008. Mahoney went to his house nearby, fetched an air pistol and returned to look for the victim. He then shot him in the face as he sat in his car, leaving him with a pellet permanently lodged in his jaw.
The next day in London Road, Stone, near Dartford, Kent, Mahoney pulled on to a petrol garage forecourt where he saw a group of people eating pizza in an Audi Quattro at around 10.20pm. Mahoney told them he was a police officer before producing an air pistol and ordering them to get out of the vehicle. He then got inside the car and drove off, and it was found burnt out six days later.
However, dog hairs and blood left behind by Buster led to his owner's downfall and eventual conviction.
Detective Constable Geoff McCreery, of Kent Police, said: "Even though the car had been set alight, there were forensic opportunities we could harvest. A few days later I got a warrant to seize Buster and took him to a vet who took hair and blood samples. These were then matched with those found in the Audi, along with forensic evidence, which linked Mahoney."
Mahoney was charged and pleaded guilty on the day his trial was meant to start to racially aggravated wounding and possession of a firearm on November 5, 2008 and robbery and possession of an imitation firearm the following day.
Judge Martin Joy QC told him: "You present a significant risk to the public due to your pattern of violent offending. You have a violent nature and those who behave as you have done will always be severely punished and the public need to be protected."
The judge said he would be on licence for life after release.