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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Patrick Edrich

Elle Edwards' mum pleads with killer Chapman but can't face court

The mum of Elle Edwards said her health has deteriorated since her daughter was murdered and asked her killer "why have you done this?"

Connor Chapman, 23, was today jailed for life with a minimum of 48 years after being found guilty of the murder of the "wholly innocent" Elle who was killed in a botched gangland shooting on Christmas Eve last year. The convicted drug dealer returned to Liverpool Crown Court this afternoon to be sentenced.

Elle, 26, had been enjoying a night out with her sister and friends when she was hit shot twice outside the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey Village. Five men were also injured, one critically, but all survived.

READ MORE: Connor Chapman guilty of Elle Edwards murder outside busy pub

A jury of seven women and five men came to a unanimous decision after three hours and 48 minutes of deliberation, following a three-and-a-half week trial at Liverpool Crown Court. Chapman’s friend Thomas Waring, 20, was convicted of possession of a prohibited weapon, and also assisting an offender by helping Chapman torch the stolen black Mercedes car used to flee the scene.

The court heard career criminal Chapman, described as "at the heart" of the Woodchurch estate organised crime group, lurked outside the busy pub for nearly three hours. Harrowing CCTV footage played in court showed him step around the side of the pub and unleash 12 shots from a military style Skorpion sub-machine pistol. Elle was seen slumping forwards after being hit by two bullets.

This afternoon in court Elle's family's victim impact statements were read out. Although Elle's dad Tim has spoken extensively with the media and outside the courts, her mum Gaynor has been unable to face coming to the trial due to her health deteriorating.

However, Nigel Power KC, prosecuting, read out a statement from Tim where he said Gaynor "wanted her voice heard". Gaynor said: "I want to know why have you done this? What drove you to do this to my daughter? I can’t accept she’s gone...I cannot put into words how much I love and miss her."

Elle Edwards' mum arrives at her daughter's funeral (Liverpool ECHO)

Tim's moving statement referenced how Elle was "the most caring, beautiful and happy person". He added: "Elle was trying her hardest to make something of herself. She always got to where she wanted to be. She was reaching her peak and the happiest I've ever seen her.

"She had such a bright future. Elle was a fantastic sister. The bond the four of them has is unbreakable. She would give all her spare time to her brothers and sisters. Elle did the same with her friends. Elle loved the company of her grandparents and was always calling in to see them. It was her second home.

"Elle cared for her grandmother and the two would often go out for afternoon tea or lunch somewhere. She would always make sure her nan had a great day out. The same went for her other grandfather George. She would go out of the way to have a catch up with him.

"I can’t begin to explain the devastating effect this has. The only people who go through such a horrific experience can ever know how it feels. I hope the people in this room never have to experience what we are going through now. We have been given a life sentence. Whenever we celebrate birthdays, Easter, family celebrations there will always be Elle missing. We know if she was there, it was always going to be a great time full of laughter and cheer.

Tim Edwards, father of Elle Edwards, outside Liverpool Crown Court (Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

"We will always wonder what her children would be like, what her career would turn out like. We will never know. We never asked for this punishment. The event of Christmas Eve have impacted us in a huge number of ways. The feeling of loss of a child is so devastating it really can’t be put into words. It’s hard to focus on the future when no matter what we do there is nothing to bring back our daughter.

"I will do my best to make sure her name is never forgotten and use her name to help those who need it. Christmas will never be celebrated. Gone is the time of Christmas as a time to be together. We will never all be together."

Chapman was jailed for life with a minimum of 48 years. Waring was jailed for nine years.

You can follow live updates of Chapman and Waring's sentencing here.

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