Drug dealer convicted of the murder of Mark Hillman

22/02/2017

A drug dealer has been convicted of the murder of a man in Liverpool in April 2016.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Mark Hillman, 27, was murdered minutes after he drove his Audi car into Lloyd Close in the Walton area around teatime on 27 April.

Local drug dealer Brandon Bilsborough, 19, was today (21.2.2017) found guilty of his murder. Connor Hunt, 18, who's also a local drug dealer, was found guilty of wounding Mr Hillman in an earlier incident on the same day.

A friend of Mr Hillman's who works in a local hairdressers, said Hunt and Bilsborough had got into an argument with Mr Hillman, who was also known to deal in drugs, on the morning of the day he died.

Hunt and Bilsborough had been getting ready for the funeral of Bilsborough's grandmother and told Mr Hillman to stay out of the area.

CCTV showed Bilsborough challenging Mark Hillman, in Newcombe Street and Mr Hillman walking away. Hunt was then seen running after Mr Hillman after handing his mobile phone to Brandon Bilsborough.

CCTV showed Connor Hunt slashing the left side of Mr Hillman's face. The CCTV also showed Connor Hunt was carrying a weapon.

Mr Hillman got away but later called into the hairdresser's and his friend saw that he had a deep gash to his face.

Mark Hillman attended the Royal Liverpool University Hospital where the cut to his face was examined and stitched.

Bilsborough and Hunt attended a wake in "The Cabbage Pub" on Breck Road in Walton, following the funeral and were seen coming out of the pub around 3.28pm.

Mr Hillman's friend saw them and telephoned Mark Hillman telling him that Bilsborough and Hunt were staring at her as she drove past The Cabbage pub.

A short time later, Hunt and Bilsborough went to the hairdresser's salon on Breck Road where Mark Hillman was visiting his friend.

They tried to get into the salon and were shouting for Mr Hillman to come out.

When he refused, Bilsborough took hold of Mark Hillman's bike and pushed it towards a wall.

Hunt and Bilsborough left and Mark Hillman followed and drove his car at them before driving away. Hunt and Bilsborough managed to jump out of the way in time.

Mr Hillman was then spotted on CCTV around 5.13pm, driving into Lloyd Close in Walton.

A few minutes later he was dead. He'd been shot twice in the back. CCTV footage showed Brandon Bilsborough heading away from the Lloyd Close area at 5.16pm.

The following day, Hunt and Bilsborough were seen on CCTV making their way South in a Mercedes. They arrived at London City Airport and then flew out to Malaga with a one way ticket.

Hunt and Bilsborough were arrested when they arrived back into the UK on 8 June 2016.

A third man, Paul Smith, 35, who was also arrested in connection with the events of 27 April, has been acquitted.

Brian Forshaw, Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Drug dealers Hunt and Bilsborough had clearly been warning Mr Hillman off their patch in the days leading up to this tragedy and then used the pretext of Bilsborough's grandmother's funeral to make those threats even darker.

"Hunt slashed Hillman's face and then, later in the day, Bilsborough shot him dead in a residential street. They then fled the scene and the country to escape justice.

"Bilsborough was prepared to go to any lengths to protect his drugs trade, even murder. The world of drugs is sordid, lethal and violent, as this case has shown. Those who make a living from it often end up as either victims of that violence or behind bars."

Bilsborough and Hunt will be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday 27 February 2017.