AN ASYLUM seeker from Wembley who was caught outside Tony Blair's home carrying a loaded handgun is facing years in jail.
Vladimir Kendella, 56, was cornered by police in Connaught Street just yards from the former Prime Minister's residence after a car chase through Central London.
He managed to dump the pistol in the road moments before he was arrested, but it was later found by a neighbour out walking his dog. When the Albanian's car was searched, officers also found a silencer under the driver’s seat. Another three rounds of ammunition were uncovered in his home in Danes Court, North End Road, Wembley, the following day.
Kendella now faces a lengthy jail term and deportation after he was convicted of a series of firearms offences following a short trial at Southwark Crown Court.
The jury found him guilty of possessing the handgun and ammunition on December 24, but were unable to decide whether he knew about the silencer, after hearing he had only recently bought the vehicle.
Judge Christopher Hardy adjourned proceedings until January 14, when the Crown Prosecution Service will announce whether or not they intend to seek a retrial over the silencer.
The judge warned Kendella: "It's bound to be a substantial sentence in any event."
On December 12, 2009, Kendella's white Seat Ibiza sped out of a junction in front of marked patrol car. The two officers flagged him down before running a check on his vehicle and realising he was driving with no insurance. As they searched their database, Kendella drove off.
Minutes later, they spotted him parked in Connaught Street. The constables took the Albanian back to the station, failing to spot he had hidden a handgun in the gutter next to the kerb. But 20 minutes later, local resident William Salisbury spotted the pistol as he took his family dog for a walk.
Giving evidence, Mr Salisbury, said: "My first thought was that it was possibly a toy gun. I bent down to pick it up. I held it between my thumb and forefinger and when I lifted it about two inches I realised by the weight of it that it was a real gun."
He placed it back on the ground before taking a plastic bag he was planning to use for his dog’s litter from his pocket.
Mr Salisbury said: "I scooped the gun into the plastic bag and took it round the corner to Ashley Close where I knew there would be some officers stationed."
Asked by prosecutor Ian Paton why he believed officers would be there, Mr Salisbury replied: "Because Tony Blair lived there."
A silencer was later discovered under the front seat. Kendella also had £600 in his pocket and a Portuguese driving license that he claimed belonged to his girlfriend.
Kendella said he had bought the white Seat from a car dealer only days before and had no idea about the silencer. He also blamed the mystery car dealer for leaving bullets in his bedroom after coming round for a drinking session and said the man asked him to go to Connaught Street to find the gun after he had left it there.
Kendella denied possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, possessing a silencer with intent to danger life and possessing ammunition with intent to danger life. He also denied possessing ammunition without a firearms certificate.