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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Abigail Nicholson

Criminals serving city's longest sentences as Connor Chapman jailed for 48 years

Connor Chapman was given a minimum of 48 years in prison after shooting Elle Edwards dead on Christmas Eve.

The 23-year-old shot Elle on Christmas Eve when she was celebrating with friends and family. The 26-year-old beautician was struck in the head and died almost instantly, while five men were also injured, one critically.

A jury of seven women and five men came to a unanimous decision on Chapman's guilt yesterday after three hours and 48 minutes of deliberation, following a three and a half week trial at Liverpool Crown Court. He was jailed for a minimum of 48 years for Elle's murder, the attempted murder of Salkeld and Duffy, wounding with intent of Mr Loughran and Mr Carr, assault occasioning actual bodily harm of Mr Speed and possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

READ MORE: The day Connor Chapman refused to come into court during his murder trial

The highest sentence in recent years before Chapman was Thomas Cashman, 34, from West Derby. He was jailed for 42 years after being convicted of shooting dead schoolgirl Olivia Pratt-Korbel in her own home.

Ten other criminals have received sentences of more than 30 years in the last decade, the majority were involved in murders. Here's a list of 11 of the longest prison sentences given in Merseyside.

Thomas Cashman

Thomas Cashman (Merseyside Police)

Thomas Cashman was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 42 years after shooting a nine-year-old girl dead in her home.

The 34-year-old, of Grenadier Drive, West Derby was unanimously found guilty of murdering Olivia Pratt-Korbel by a jury on Thursday March 30. He was also found guilty and sentenced for the attempted murder of drug dealer Joseph Nee, wounding Olivia's mum Cheryl Korbel and possession of two firearms.

Olivia was shot dead in her own home on Kingsheath Avenue in Dovecot in one of the most horrific crimes in Merseyside's history.

Rueben Murphy

Rueben Murphy, 26, called a High Court judge a "fat paedophile" and screamed "f*** the system" as he was led to the cells at Liverpool Crown Court. Murphy, formerly of Barkbeth Road in Huyton, was convicted of murder after pumping two 9mm bullets into the chest of 26-year-old Patrick Boyle on July 1, 2021.

Mr Boyle, living in Kirkdale at the time, was the dad of a three-year-old boy and was expecting a second child with his pregnant partner, hospital ward manager Ashleigh Deans, at the time he was killed. He was standing outside an address in Newway, off Lordens Road in Huyton, at around 5.55pm when Murphy approached on an electric bike and opened fire.

Two rounds hit him on the left side of his chest and he was pronounced dead at Whiston Hospital less than 30 minutes later. Murphy denied he was in the street at the time, claiming he was "off me head" on ketamine and cannabis in a garden in another area of Huyton.

But he was faced with overwhelming evidence, including a pair of black gloves, bearing traces of gunshot residue and his DNA profile, found on top of a kitchen cupboard in his home. CCTV evidence also put him in the area of the killing at the time.

Murphy was convicted of murder after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court alongside his close friend Ben Doyle, now 25, who rode the electric bike, carrying Murphy on the back, to within minutes of the murder scene. Another friend, 21-year-old Thomas Walker, was cleared of murder but admitted handling one of the bullets used to kill Mr Boyle on a date prior to the day of the shooting.

Murphy was asked to stand and told he will serve life in prison with a minimum of 31 years before he will be eligible to apply for Parole. As the sentence was read, the wild-eyed murderer began shouting and ranting.

He said he had been expecting a longer sentence before telling Judge Morris: "Thanks very much you fat paedophile." Murphy also screamed "f*** the system" and said he was "always smiling" as he was escorted out of the dock.

Doyle, of Lyme Grove in Huyton, was jailed for life with a 27-year minimum term while Walker, of no fixed address but from Clubmoor, was handed two years behind bars.

Liam Watson

A 21-year-old from Manchester was shot dead in a robbery after he was "lured" to Liverpool by a gang offering to sell a stolen Audi S1 for £2,000.

Miguel 'Migz' Reynolds was a promising rapper known as 'Lil Gwop Boy' who had starred in videos on YouTube. When he and a friend arrived in Netherton they were robbed at gunpoint, but Miguel wanted his money back.

He grabbed a lock knife and chased after the gang, including gunman Liam Watson - ignoring a warning shot on June 7, 2018. When he caught Watson in a communal garden off Assissian Crescent, the heroin dealer shot him in the neck.

Watson, 32, and Kyle Sanders, 22, who set up the robbery, were jailed alongside two accomplices. Watson, of Litherland Park, Litherland, was convicted of murder, while Sanders, of Charles Best Green, Bootle, was found guilty of manslaughter in a retrial.

Watson was found guilty of murder and conspiracies to rob, possess a prohibited firearm and possess prohibited ammunition and was jailed for life with a minimum of 30 years. Sanders was convicted of manslaughter and the three conspiracies. He was jailed for 21 years.

Lee Knox

Lee Knox murdered Joseph McKeever then spent nearly three years on the run (Liverpool Echo)

Lee Knox directed the torture and murder of dad-of-one Joseph McKeever over a £900,000 cannabis importation plot gone wrong.

The 54-year-old victim's battered body was found in the boot of a stolen Ford Focus, set ablaze on a field in Everton, late on June 15, 2017. He had suffered two "shattered" kneecaps, broken eye sockets and ribs, brain damage, a crushed voice box, had bone chopped away from his jaw and was strangled at least twice with a ligature.

Knox, 43, formerly of Canal View, Melling, escaped to Spain within hours of the killing and spent nearly three years on the run until his arrest in Belfast in April 2020. Crying in court, he claimed he was a "terrified" witness to the violence and fought to save Mr McKeever's life by giving him CPR.

But a jury unanimously convicted the dad-of-two of false imprisonment and murder after a 17-day trial. Knox had a criminal record including offering to supply crack cocaine and dealing ecstasy, possessing an offensive weapon, and battery.

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, "rejected completely" the killer's claim he tried to give his victim CPR and said the missing load was his cannabis, which he wrongly blamed Mr McKeever for failing to arrive in Liverpool after it was seized by customs.

Knox - the sixth person convicted in connection with Mr McKeever's gruesome death - was jailed for life with a minimum of 30 years.

Connah Jenkinson

Connah Jenkinson, 25, of Kremlin Drive in Tuebrook (Liverpool Echo)

Robert Beattie, 48, was squirted with petrol by a hooded gang who knocked on his door in Skelmersdale before setting him ablaze.

Five men travelled from Liverpool to West Lancashire to enforce their dominance of the local heroin and crack cocaine trade. Mr Beattie, who was a drug user, was targeted at his home in Waverley, at around 12.30am, on September 26, 2019.

He suffered terrible burns and fought to stay alive for the next two weeks, while sedated, but lost his battle. Ringleader Connah Jenkinson, of Kremlin Drive, Tuebrook, was found guilty of murder and arson with intent to endanger life, the latter charge in connection with a separate attack earlier that evening.

His accomplices, John O'Brien, of Ingrave Road, Walton, and Joseph McEwan, of Damsire Close, Fazakerley, were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter and the same arson attack. Jenkinson and his recruits believed their "Ronnie and Reggie" mobile telephone line, used to peddle Class A drugs to addicts, was being usurped by a rival telephone line, nicknamed "Nathan".

The gang thought Mr Beattie was part of the competing dealing group and paid a visit to the town to "deter disloyalty," prosecutors said. Hours before targeting him, they also firebombed a separate home on Willow Hey, where they perceived rivals to live, but the occupants managed to escape.

Mr Beattie's family condemned the three men for "laughing and joking" during the trial, which they said "showed little respect". Jenkinson was jailed for life, with a minimum of 30 years behind bars.

O'Brien and McEwan were handed sentences of 15 years and 13 years respectively.

James Foy and Michael Foy

James Foy, 19 and of Rossini Street in Seaforth, was convicted of the murder of Michael Rainsford (Merseyside Police)

The Foy brothers were jailed for life after being convicted of the murder of Michael Rainsford.

The 20-year-old was shot dead as he stood in the kitchen of his Litherland home on the night of April 7, 2020. The attack was an act of revenge after bricks had been thrown at their home in Seaforth while their mum was inside alone.

But the brothers' trial heard Mr Rainsford had in fact played no role in that incident. The pair were found guilty of murder, possession of a prohibited firearm and possession of ammunition without certificate.

At their sentence hearing, James Foy instructed his barrister to tell the court he was the gunman who pulled the trigger that night. The shocking admission came minutes before he was due to be sentenced.

Michael Foy, 22 and of Rossini Street in Seaforth, was convicted of the murder of Michael Rainsford. (Merseyside Police)

James Foy, 19, and of Rossini Street, was also convicted of possession of a prohibited gun in relation to a pistol found in a Bootle home in 2019. He was sentenced to a minimum of 28 years.

Michael, 22 and also of Rossini Street. was handed a minimum term of 30 years.

Anthony Saunderson and Paul Mount

A Merseyside gang produced hundreds of kilograms of drugs and shipped large quantities of their injectable amphetamines across England, Scotland and Wales as part of a multi-million pound scheme. They were also involved in dealing cocaine, heroin, ketamine and other drugs, while two of the gang’s ringleaders made attempts to get hold of weapons in the months before they were brought to justice.

A judge at Liverpool Crown Court said that the gang’s leaders, who got 93 years in jail between them, were characterised by their rock solid commitment to producing huge quantities of illegal drugs and trading them across Britain. Nicola Daley, prosecuting, told the court earlier this week that the gang’s huge drug production operation was initially discovered after the Encrochat messaging service was breached by investigators in 2020.

Anthony Saunderson, 42, of Formby, was jailed for 35 years after being convicted of conspiracy to produce and supply Class A and Class B amphetamine, conspiracy to supply other Class A drugs, conspiracy to supply other Class B drugs and conspiracy to transfer a prohibited weapon.

Paul Mount, 38, of Halsall, was jailed for 34 years after being convicted of conspiracy to produce and supply Class A and Class B amphetamine, conspiracy to supply other Class A drugs, conspiracy to supply other Class B drugs and conspiracy to purchase a prohibited weapon.

Erland Spahiu

Erland Spahiu was convicted of the murder of Christopher Hughes (Greater Manchester Police)

Christopher Hughes' mutilated body was discovered on a country road on the outskirts of Skelmersdale by a dogwalker after he was bundled into the back of an Audi and viciously attacked. The 37-year-old suffered nearly 100 separate injuries, having been hunted down by a vigilante gang who wrongly believed the dad had raped a teenager.

Erland Spahiu, of White Moss Road in Skelmersdale, was found guilty of murder and kidnapping. The 34-year-old was jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years.

Curtis Balbas, of Matheson Drive in Wigan, pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping. The 30-year-old was jailed for life with a minimum term of 34 years.

Martin Smith, of Greenwood Avenue in Wigan, was found guilty of murder and kidnapping. The 34-year-old shook his head, took a sip of water then threw his plastic cup to the floor after he was jailed for life with a minimum term of 33 years.

Five more people were also jailed in connection with the murder but were given sentenced of under 30 years.

Anthony McGivern

Drug dealer Anthony McGivern who accidentally shot his best friend in the head during a drive-by attack on a rival gang was jailed for a minimum of 30 years.

Anthony “Leech” McGivern blasted front seat passenger Kevin Gott in the back of the head at point blank range while trying to shoot members of the Larkhill Crew on August 30, 2011. The pair had a falling out with the street gang over drugs and, Liverpool Crown Court heard, there was also resentment over the murder of Edward Pybis who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Walton a few months earlier.

Although it was McGivern, 25, who had most to fear from reprisals the pair got hold of a 9mm gun and a stolen Ford Fiesta with fake plates to carry out the attack. But when they entered Larkhill Lane, Clubmoor, and saw their intended victims it was Mr Gott, also 25, who was shot as McGivern tried to both drive and fire at the same time – hitting him in the back of his hoodie.

Despite that he made a second attempt to shoot the Larkhill targets even while his friend’s dead body lay slumped in the seat next to him. McGivern then dumped Mr Gott’s body in a gutter on Brayfield Road, Norris Green, and set fire to the car.

He denied murder, claiming it was an accident, and although this was accepted towards the end of his trial he was still convicted of murder because he intended to hurt or kill someone, if not his actual victim.

Judge Clement Goldstone QC jailed McGivern for life with a minimum term of 30 years.

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