A teenager has been sentenced to life for the attempted murder of a man outside his home in Widnes.
Ryan Duggan (top right) was jailed during a hearing at Chester Crown Court. The 19-year-old was also sentenced in relation to a number of other offences including possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, possession of a firearm without a certificate, possession of a firearm without a licence, possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and section 18 wounding.
Another man - Jordan Grimes, (bottom right) aged 22, from Burnley – was sentenced to two years for assisting an offender. Grimes – a friend of Duggan – had provided him with a ‘safe haven’ by allowing Duggan to stay at his flat following the incident.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Gary McIntyre, who led the investigation, said: “This was an extremely serious offence and the sentence handed down to Duggan reflects that. It sends out a strong message that if you choose to behave in this way – and bring guns and violence to the streets of Cheshire then you will be punished for your actions. It also reinforces the message that If you assist someone in evading the police then you will be dealt with.
“I hope that the sentencing today brings some closure for the victim, who has suffered greatly. I am fully aware of the impact this case has had on him and the fact that the devastating injuries he sustained will affect him for the rest of his life. Despite making good progress he still requires treatment for his injuries – including further operations and rehabilitation. The nightmare is far from over.
“This incident also had a big impact upon the local community and I would like to thank all those affected for their patience, trust and confidence in the police. We will not tolerate this type of crime and will ensure that those responsible are located and convicted.”
During sentencing the judge praised Cheshire Police’s Major Investigation Team for ‘an extremely effective and efficient investigation’.
The incident took place on the evening of 15 October 2014 in Widnes. Duggan and a number of other youths had been congregating outside St Michael’s View – a block of flats where the victim Daniel Kennedy lives.
They were behaving in an intimidating manner towards some of the residents and had turned off the water supply to the flats.
The victim, who is 25, returned home at 8.30pm and took his dog for a walk. When he came back home he noticed that there was no water and, suspecting that they were responsible for this, went out to speak to the group. This resulted in a verbal altercation and the victim ended up chasing Duggan down a footpath.
He chased him round the back of the building and during this chase Duggan responded by stopping and turning to face the victim. He then pulled out a sawn-off shotgun and fired it at the victim.
The victim fell to the floor after sustaining serious injuries to his abdomen. Fearing that he may be shot at again he managed to get up off the floor and head back towards the block of flats. It was here that the emergency services were alerted and police and paramedics attended the scene. He was taken to Aintree Hospital in a serious condition.
Following the incident an investigation was launched and officers from Cheshire Police’s Major Investigation Team spent weeks piecing together vital information in a bid to establish the full circumstances of what had happened.
On the night of the shooting officers carried out detailed searches of the local area. They recovered the victim’s mobile phone, which had fallen from his jacket pocket onto the floor following the shooting – it became apparent from the damage to the phone that it had taken the majority of the blast from a shotgun.
Two further phones were also recovered nearby – these were forensically examined and subsequently linked to Duggan.
A further search was carried out at the back of a block of flats on the opposite side to where the shooting took place – it was here that officers discovered the shotgun wrapped in clingfilm and concealed under a bush - with the spent cartridge still inside. A ballistics expert was also called in to examine the scene and further shotgun pellets and wadding were recovered.
After being identified as a suspect, a search warrant was executed at Duggan’s home address. Duggan was not inside the property at the time but as part of their search officers seized a jacket, which was forensically examined – DNA on the collar matched Duggan and traces of gunshot residue were recovered from the front and side of the jacket and also from the pocket.
Duggan was eventually traced to a flat in Burnley and, on 25 November, officers attended the flat and he was arrested and subsequently charged.
Detective Inspector McIntyre said: “Duggan’s actions that night were extreme and shocking – the victim went outside to speak to the group about the fact they had turned off the water supply resulting in the defendant shooting him with a powerful weapon.
“Fortunately, the victim’s mobile phone took the brunt of the shot and, as a result of this, he survived. This is remarkable – had that phone not been in his pocket at that time he would undoubtedly have died.”
Richard Riley, Senior District Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Ryan Duggan fired a shotgun at Mr Kennedy from 1.5 metres. In my view this was a clear intent to kill, not just to injure. The jury agreed with that and Duggan has now been given a substantial jail term.
“It’s unclear why Duggan took a powerful firearm to the flats on that night but he is clearly a dangerous man and doesn’t care what impact his actions have. Mr Kennedy had simply gone out to remonstrate with him about switching his water supply off – for that he was fired at from close range. That is entirely unacceptable and Duggan now, at last, has to face the consequences.”