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Misconduct in public office

Nottingham crime boss found guilty of corrupting police had conviction for conspiracy to murder

02/08/2007

The Crown Prosecution Service made sure that the jury in the trial of Nottingham criminal Colin Gunn - accused of corrupting police officers for information - knew about his conviction last year for the part he played in the murder of John and Joan Stirland.

Reviewing lawyer Stuart Laidlaw, of the CPS Special Crime Divison in York, said: "This is Colin Gunn's second trial for serious offences and the full extent of his criminal behaviour can now be revealed.

"We applied for evidence of his bad character - his conviction for conspiracy to murder - to be admitted. We argued that the jury needed to know about the deaths of the Stirlands to understand this case and his motivation for seeking police intelligence."

Last year, Colin Gunn was one of three men who were convicted of conspiracy to murder John and Joan Stirland. Mr and Mrs Stirland were shot dead at their home in Trusthorpe, Lincolnshire, in a revenge killing after Mrs Stirland's son killed an associate of the Gunn family.

Mr Laidlaw said: "Colin Gunn could not publicly be identified during and after the Stirland trial because he was facing this trial for conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. Once the judge in this trial ruled that the jury could be told about his previous conviction, the ban on linking him to that offence was lifted.

"The Crown's case was that using go-betweens, he asked for, and received, confidential information from Nottinghamshire police officers. Thankfully, the information he received had limited consequences, in part at least because the main police contact was under surveillance and the police were managing the risks that arose.

"Colin Gunn wanted to know what the police knew about various investigations which were of interest to him, such as the murder of the Stirlands, the shooting of jeweller Marion Bates in Nottingham and intelligence checks - or "MoTs" as they were referred to - on suspects. With this knowledge he hoped to keep one step ahead of the police."

Colin Chapman, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Lincolnshire CPS which prosecuted the Stirland case, said: "The cold blooded shooting of a couple in their own home, motivated by revenge for something in which they had no involvement, shocked Lincolnshire.

"We were determined to ensure that those responsible for planning, organising and executing these murders were brought to justice and we worked closely with Lincolnshire Police from the start to uncover and piece together how each of the defendants was involved. Colin Gunn was quite clearly the leader and this was reflected in his sentence - life imprisonment with a tariff of 35 years."

At the start of the current trial, Colin Gunn sacked his legal team and refused to take part. He has not appeared in court throughout the case. Mr Laidlaw said: "For a long time Colin Gunn stayed one step ahead of the law. The law has now caught up with him."

  1. Colin Gunn, John Russell and Michael McNee were all convicted at Birmingham Crown Court in June 2006 of conspiracy to murder John and Joan Stirland at Trusthorpe, Lincs, between August 1 and August 9, 2004. Five other men were acquitted.
  2. Colin Gunn's co-conspirators in the police corruption case all pleaded guilty and were sentenced as follows:
  3.  

    • Charles Fletcher, 1 x conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and 2 x conspiracy to pervert the course of justice: 7 years in total.
    • Phillip Parr, 1 x conspiracy to commit misconduct: 12 months. Both Fletcher and Parr were police officers.
    • Jason Grocock, 1 x conspiracy to commit misconduct and 2 x conspiracy to pervert the course of justice: 4 years in total.
    • Kevin Warsop 1 x conspiracy to commit misconduct and 1 x conspiracy to pervert the course of justice: 3 years in total.
    • Four men were sentenced for conspiracy to commit misconduct: David Barrett, 3 years; Darren Peters, 4 years; Gerald Breslin, 16 months; Javade Rashid, 6 months.
  4. The maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice is life imprisonment.
  5. For further information contact CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8180.