The brother of gangland shooting victim Charlene Ellis was jailed yesterday for driving offences - and praised by a judge for trying to escape the gun culture.
Nathaniel Ellis claimed to have been driving at high speed in Birmingham to get away from a group of men who were threatening him.
When pursued by police, he went through red traffic lights and crashed into another car before trying to flee.
Ellis (25), of Wheeler Street, Newtown, was given a 12-month prison sentence after admitting dangerous driving and driving while disqualified. He was also banned from the roads for three years.
His sister and her cousin Letisha Shakespeare were shot dead in Aston at a new year party in 2003, the innocent victims of a cross-fire between two feuding gangs.
Sentencing Ellis at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday, the judge Recorder Mr John Edwards said he had taken into account a letter written by his mother which documented the "deep trauma" he had suffered since January 2003.
He said he also appreciated the efforts Ellis was making to get himself and others "out of the dreadful culture that blights this city of guns and gangs". The judge said he had also taken into account that Ellis had been in fear when he was initially pursued by people in a black car but added: "This was a relatively high speed chase on a busy Saturday afternoon in a busy part of this city."
Ian Speed, prosecuting, said in March this year officers on mobile patrol travelling towards Lozells on Alma Street saw a Ford Mondeo being driven over the speed limit by Ellis. They pursued the vehicle over a short distance during which the defendant went through three red traffic lights and struck the bumper of a car in front.
The chase ended when the Mondeo hit another vehicle and Ellis was arrested after trying to flee from the scene.
Ellis told the court that he had been shot in August last year and that the occupants of the vehicle which had pursued him were friends of the person who had shot him. He also said he had had telephone calls threatening to "finish him off' as well as do things to his family.
David Payne, defending, said Ellis had become "entangled" with the seedier side of gang mentality and as a result of that there had been certain incidents involving his family.