FOUR men have been found guilty of the manslaughter of a young father in Boscombe last year.

Reece James, 21, was shot dead at point-blank range at a flat in Roumelia Lane after a planned burglary went awry.

Kieron Wellington, 30, of Durley Gardens, Bournemouth, Wayne Stephenson, 33, of Byron Court, East Dulwich, Keifer Hutchinson, 22, of Manaton Close, Peckham, and Jarome Parkinson, 24, of Dover Road, Folkestone, told the court they had plotted to raid the flat on July 25, 2012, after seeing a photograph of Mr James’s friend Tyrone Downer holding armfuls of cash they believed may have come from drug dealing.

While Wellington, who organised the raid, stayed in London, Stephenson, Hutchinson and Parkinson drove to Boscombe before breaking in to the flat without realising both Mr James and Mr Downer were inside, they said.

Following a fight between the men, Stephenson told the court that Mr James had approached him with a sawn-off shotgun in his hands, and the two struggled before it went off, killing the victim.

He then hid the gun up a sleeve as he left, later throwing it into the River Thames afterwards.

But the four were arrested after police identified a silver Audi A3 car from CCTV and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) footage, which had been registered and insured in Stephenson’s name.

The car was caught travelling from London to Boscombe in the early hours on the morning of the killing.

Detective Sergeant Simon Huxter of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team said he was “satisfied” with the verdict, and thanked the Metropolitan Police and Avon and Somerset Police for their assistance.

“I want to pay tribute to Reece’s mum Mrs James and her family for the continuing support they have given to the investigation, and for their bravery,” he said.

He said the investigation was “complex and time-consuming”.

“We have been relentless in getting as much evidence as we possibly could,” he said.

“I hope that the residents of Boscombe have confidence in the abilities of the police service to bring to justice dangerous and violent criminals.”

The sentencing of the four defendants, who had pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder, will take place at 11am today at Winchester Crown Court – see live updates here

All our stories on the Roumelia Lane shootings