A delivery driver caused terror on the streets of west London when he shot and almost killed two men at random with a crossbow, a court heard.
Andrew Ramdeen, 30, drove around Uxbridge in his white van while armed with the high-powered weapon he had bought online for £200, looking for victims to target.
In the first attack, college student Zaigham Ali was just inches away from being struck on the head when Ramdeen’s crossbow bolt sliced him across the ear.
Three weeks later, Ramdeen shot 33-year-old Amir Ayyad at almost point-blank range in the abdomen and left him fighting for his life in hospital.
Ramdeen, a paranoid schizophrenic, admitted both attacks and will now be detained indefinitely in a secure hospital after a sentencing hearing at Isleworth crown court on Friday.
Detectives conducted a meticulous investigation to bring Ramdeen to justice, including computer modelling of both scenes. They established the first victim had been shot at a distance of 146ft, while the second was hit at just six feet.
Door to door enquiries, witness statements, hours of CCTV analysis and phone work, and media appeals were also conducted as part of their campaign.
Detectives had already been deep into their investigation when the second incident occurred and they were linked due to the location of the incidents and the weapon used.
Witnesses did not see the suspect, but they did describe seeing a white van without a registration number making off from the scene in both instances.
Forensic CCTV examination was undertaken, covering a wide geographical area. Eventually detectives pinpointed an area where the vehicle appeared to vanish.
Concentrating on this area officers uncovered a similar vehicle that appeared a few minutes later on the same route, but this time with a different registration number.
Officers worked to identify the vehicle and established that it was used as a company delivery vehicle. Enquiries with the company revealed Ramdeen as the attacker and matched his location at the time of each attack.
Though he had made a concentrated effort to evade capture by removing the license plate in both incidents, he failed to notice that the vehicle he was using had a tracking device fitted by his employer.
An urgent operation was conducted and Ramdeen was arrested by armed officers while he was driving the vehicle on 21 September 2020.
Detective Inspector Daniel McInerney said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that in both instances the difference between life and death was but a matter of millimeters.
“If the variation of the bolts had been ever so slightly different, two sets of families would lost a loved one and we’d have been looking at two very different investigations. It’s pure good fortune that the second victim was so close to a hospital. The doctors and nurses saved this man’s life.
“The work of the investigative team to bring Ramdeen to justice was determined and painstaking. No stone was left unturned in the effort to find the person responsible, and the overwhelming evidence we presented left Ramdeen with no choice but to plead guilty to these horrendous attacks.
“I’m also very grateful to the victims for the support they’ve provided us after everything they’ve been through, and to members of the public who came forward to supply us with vital information that led to Ramdeen’s identification and capture.
“Though Randeem’s motive has never been established, the judge has been clear that he is considered a danger to the public and he has been sentenced appropriately.”