Gang sentenced to more than 110 years for gun and drugs crimes

14/06/2016

Twelve men and one woman have been sentenced to a total of more than 110 years in jail for dealing in drugs, blackmail, arson and having guns.

Twelve men and one woman have been sentenced to a total of more than 110 years in jail for dealing in drugs, blackmail, arson and having guns.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that that the supply of heroin, cocaine and cannabis were at the heart of four shootings carried out by members of the gang between September 2014 and April 2015.

The court also heard that a cache of high powered guns, ammunition and drugs were found at the home of one of the gang, Andrew Hughes, in Bechers, Widnes.

It was described as an "Aladdin's Cave" of fire arms and ammunition, including a Glock pistol that had been used in all of the shootings.

DNA evidence found on the weapons and ammunition implicated some of the defendants.

The court heard that members of the gang had been involved in four "drive-by" style shootings in Speke, Widnes, Whiston and Huyton.  One of them had also deliberately set fire to a house connected to a man he claimed owed him money.

The gang were Scott Smith, 27, David McMullen, 31, Kieron Blair, 24, Victoria Galloway, 32, Paul Remedios, 31, Sean Smith, 33, Callum Tombs, 19, Andrew Hughes, 48, Michael Loughran, 27, Jordan Ferns, 27, Tyrone Grimes, 19, Stephen McCarten, 25 and Terence O'Donnell, 27.

Some of the gang had pleaded guilty at an early stage in the case but others were found guilty after a trial.

The gang's activities were tracked by police between 22 September 2014 and 24 April 2015. They were caught with the help of surveillance and by cell siting of their mobile phones.

Three people, that McMullen thought were related to a man he claimed owed him £20,000, had to be rescued from the burning house by neighbours and the fire brigade. One of them was a baby.

The shootings included:

23 September 2014 Scott Smith and another man on a scrambler bike, fired at a man on Eastern Avenue in Speke. Guns were later found abandoned at the scene. Smith suffered a broken arm as he fled the scene.

13 January 2015, a man was shot as he was walking along Blundells Lane in Whiston. He was taken to Whiston Hospital and found to have a bullet entry and exit wound over his right shoulder blade.

11 March 2015 Two young men were shot in Lincombe Road Huyton.

10th April 2015 a man was shot in Copperwood Drive, Whiston following a car chase between an Audi and a VW Passat. The gunman was seen to be leaning out of the passenger window of the Audi as he fired. The Glock and a browning type of pistol were used by the gunmen.

It's not known why the victims were targeted but they were seriously injured, one critically. His life was saved only by the speedy intervention of accident and emergency staff at Whiston Hospital.

Victoria Galloway was the "on-off" girlfriend of Scott Smith and was described as "no passive wallflower". The court heard she was in contact with the various gang members by mobile phone around the times of each of the key incidents.

The court also heard of a "flare" of texts sent out by the gang, during a fifteen minute period. These were said to be "the drugs world's equivalent of marketing - the drug dealer using the graft phone to tell customers that he or she has some good quality drugs that they might be interested in.

Pascale Jones is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Casework Unit that handled the prosecution.

She said: "This case was complex. Merseyside Police were investigating the shooting incidents, and Cheshire Police were investigating the drug dealing activities of the gang. The Crown Prosecution Service decided to join those matters in a single prosecution.

"Between us, we built a compelling case which persuaded some defendants to plead guilty and convinced the jury of the guilt of those who took the matter to trial.

"Those defendants wanted to occupy a prominent place in the drug dealing underworld and used guns to secure it.

"They were dangerous, determined and well equipped. The roles within the gang were clearly established, with Scott Smith, Kieron Blair and David McMullen firing the guns.

"Others, like Callum Tombs, returned the guns to their place of storage and Andrew Hughes provided safe-keeping for the weapons, ammunition and class A drugs.

"David McMullen realised the Police were on to him and wanted to leave Merseyside so he blackmailed rivals to get money.

"When his demands weren't met, he threw a petrol bomb in a house connected to one his rivals, threatening to visit more addresses every night.

"The occupiers who were sleeping at the time, were put at very serious risk by the fire.

"Similarly, it is nothing short of a miracle that no bystander or victim of the shootings died. Witnesses who reported the incidents to the Police were extremely shaken by what they had seen.

"Hopefully, these long sentences will be a powerful deterrent to those who might consider joining such a gang. The Police recovered a text message from an unknown person asking David McMullen to 'take him on the team'. The prospect of joining them is now a lot less appealing."

Ends

Sentences

SCOTT Smith, Widnes
FIREARMS - LIFE - min term 12 years
CLASS A X 2 7 YRS CONC
CLABB B 4 YRS CONC
TOTAL LIFE - MINIMUM TERM 12 YEARS

Kieron BLAIR, of no fixed abode
FIEARMS - 14 YRS PLUS EXTENDED LICENCE OF 3 YEARS
DRUGS 6 YEARS CONC
TOTAL 17 YEARS

Victoria GALLOWAY, Widnes
FIREARMS - 12 YRS
CLASS A 5YRS
CLASS B 2YRS CONC
TOTAL 12 YEARS

Andrew HUGHES, Bechers, Widnes
FIREARMS - 14 YRS
CLASS A - 5YRS CONC
TOTAL 14 YRS

Paul REMEDIOS, Widnes
FIREARMS - 14 YRS
CLASS A 5YRS
CLASS B 3YRS
TOTAL 14 YEARS

Callum TOMBS, Sutton Manor
9 YRS DETENTION

SEAN SMITH, Widnes
6 AND a half years

Terence O'DONNELL, Liverpool
COUNT 7 18MTHS
COUNT 8 12 MTHS CONSEC
6MTHS FOR SUSP SENT
TOTAL 3 YEARS

David MCMULLEN, Huyton
FIREARMS AND ARSON - LIFE - minimum term 12 and a half years
BLACKMAIL 4 YRS CONC
TOTAL LIFE MIN TERM 12 AND A HALF YEARS

Tyrone GRIMES, Widnes
FIREARMS - 5YRS
DRUGS 18MTHS CONSEC
PROHIBITED ITEM 6MTHS COSEC
TOTAL 7 YEARS DETENTION

Michael LOUGHRAN, Runcorn
CLASS A 4YRS
CLASS B 2YRS CONC
SUSP SENTENCE 2 WEEKS
TOTAL 4YRS 6 WEEKS

Stephen MCCARTEN, Runcorn
3 AND A HALF YEARS IMP

Jordan FERNS, Widnes
2 YEARS SUSPENDED FOR 2 YEARS