Four men involved in the shooting of a teenage boy in Runcorn have been jailed for more than 25 years.
Tony Evans, 29, of Ruthin Court, Runcorn, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Sean Davies, 30 of Greenbridge Close, Runcorn; Wayne Griffiths, 29 of Gaunts Way, Runcorn, and Philip Horan, 29 of Greenbridge Close, Runcorn; all pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence
Today, Friday 22 June, the men appeared at Chester Crown Court where the judge sentenced them to a total of 27 years in prison.
Evans, the man who fired the shot, was jailed for 15 years while Griffiths, Davies and Horan were all jailed for 4 years each.
The charges relate to an incident that is believed to be centred on an ongoing dispute between Evans and the leader of a rival gang which came to a head on Thursday 30 November 2017.
On the day of the shooting Evans received a phone call from his partner stating a group of men had visited her home address and were smashing the windows.
Believing that the damage had been caused by the rival gang Evans decided to take the law into his own hands, contacting Griffiths, Horan and Davies and arranging to meet so they could track down the rival gang.
After meeting, the group went on a tour of Runcorn armed with a sawn off shot gun in an attempt to find the gang. Shortly before 9pm they received a call suggesting that the group were sat in a car on The Croft.
The group sped across to The Croft in a Nissan Note and pulled up alongside a Ford Mondeo. However there was no sign of the rival gang leader, instead they found the 16-year-old victim, who was sat alone in the passenger seat of the car.
Evans and Griffiths got out of their vehicle and approached the passenger door of the Mondeo. Evans then began to threaten the victim with the gun – shouting ‘where is he?’ and demanding that he handed over the keys to the car.
The victim reached over for the car keys, but before he had time to get them Evans shot him in the left leg, causing extensive injuries to his lower leg. The pair then got back into to car and the group fled the scene.
Following today’s sentencing Detective Inspector Clare Colman said: “Incidents of this nature are rare in the Runcorn area, but when they do occur we are committed to doing all that we can to trace the people responsible and bring them to justice – as can be seen with this case.
“The case centred on a petty dispute between two men which spiralled out of control. Rather than contacting police to settle the dispute Evans decided to take the law into his own hands.
“As a result of his trivial disagreement, Evans and his three friends now face lengthy prison sentences and a 16-year-old boy has suffered significant injuries – for which he is still receiving treatment.
“I hope that the sentences handed to these men today provide reassurance to the victim and to the local community. I also hope that they act as a warning to others who believe they are above the law.”
Chief Inspector Sarah Heath said: “I am aware that this incident caused alarm in the local community and I would like to reassure residents that we are committed to doing all that we can to make Runcorn a safer place for everyone. However, we cannot achieve this alone, we need the support of the local residents.
“If you are concerned about crime in our community or, if you have any information in relation to any incidents that have taken place, then I urge you to contact us on 101 or speak to a local officer so the people responsible can be brought to justice.
“Alternatively, if you do not feel comfortable speaking to police directly, then you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
“By working together we can make Runcorn a safer place for everyone.”
CI Heath added: “This has been an extremely complex case and I would like to pay tribute to all the officers and staff who have been involved in the investigation.
“The team work tirelessly throughout the year to tackle crime and as a result of their dedication and commitment Evans, Davies, Griffiths and Horan have joined a long list of criminals who have been brought to justice.”