Five men were given life sentences yesterday for the murder of a drug dealer in an "execution-style" killing.

Kevin Nunes, aged 20, was found dead with five gunshot wounds in a country road in Pattingham, Staffordshire, on September 19, 2002.

His killers - Levi Walker (28) from Birmingham; Adam Joof (27) from Willenhall, West Midlands; Antonio Christie (28) from Great Bridge, West Midlands; Michael Osbourne (28) and Owen Crooks (26) both from Wolverhampton - were found guilty of the crime last week at Leicester Crown Court.

Walker is already serving life for the murder of soldier Narel Sharpe, shot dead hours after arriving back in the UK on leave on September 4, 2004.

The jury had heard that Mr Nunes was killed after he was picked up from a Wolverhampton address and driven through country roads to a remote spot.

Shots were heard and his body was found later that evening.

His killing had emanated from a gang dispute, the CPS said. Sentencing, Mr Justice Treacy told Joof and Christie they would serve a minimum of 28 years behind bars. Walker and Osbourne were given minimum terms of 27 years and Crooks will serve a minimum 25 years.

Commending Staffordshire Police for the investigation, he said: "I have no doubt at all that the climate of fear and intimidation led to a wall of silence in the aftermath of the killing. This has been an extremely skilfully-conducted investigation."

Detective Superintendent Joe Costello, of Staffordshire Police, said that the four-year investigation into the murder of Mr Nunes was "inextricably" linked to drugs trafficking.

He said: "Although Staffordshire Police clearly recognises that Kevin Nunes was a dealer in drugs, he was nevertheless the victim of a serious crime and we wish to renew our condolences to his family."

Speaking outside the court yesterday, Mr Nunes' mother Pamela Bailey, 42, said she had been "left with a broken heart".

"He was my first-born son and they just took him away from me just like that. I miss my son so much."

Kevin Nunes had been on the books of Tottenham Hotspur and later trained with Stafford Rangers, Staffordshire Police said.

Addressing Detective Inspector Andy Spiers in court, Mr Justice Treacy said: "Police have demonstrated patience, professionalism and skill to accumulate evidence that did stand up to scrutiny. I thank you on behalf of the public of Staffordshire."