A man was shot outside of a primary school by gang members hunting for him "in a pack".
Jack Hayes survived the attack and underwent surgery. His then girlfriend was driving the car they were in as four men on two stolen motorbikes gave chase.
Mr Hayes was cornered on Borough Road, Birkenhead, on November 26, 2019. As his girlfriend attempted a desperate U-turn, a gunman fired six shots into the passenger side of the Ford Fiesta, reports the Liverpool Echo. The attack is believed to be related to the ongoing feud between Wirral-based organised crime groups.
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John Lewis, 23, was one of the men on the bikes. He was convicted of involvement in the shooting last year.
Alongside him in the dock during that case was fellow Woodchurch gang thug Connor Chapman, who was found not guilty. On Christmas Eve six months later, Chapman gunned down beautician Elle Edwards outside a pub (he has since been jailed for life for her murder – to serve a minimum of 48 years).
Lewis appeared for sentence yesterday (Thursday, September 28) over the shooting of Mr Hayes as well as a conspiracy to sell drugs and firearms using encrypted phones.
The court heard that the group "went looking" for Mr Hayes. David Temkin KC, prosecuting, said: "The shooting took place at 4.12pm, just in front of the Shell garage, and opposite Christ Church Primary School. The timing of the incident coincided with the end of the school day. At least two schoolchildren can be seen on the Shell garage CCTV."
The prosecution accepted that Lewis was not the gunman, who has not been identified.
CCTV showed how Lewis and his unidentified passenger stopped close by on a bike and appeared to watch the shooting, until the gunman hopped back onto the other bike and the four men sped away. The court heard they eventually dumped the bikes. Lewis’ DNA was recovered from the handle of one.
The court heard Lewis was on bail at the time of the shooting after being charged with a cannabis related offence, and had to wear an electronically monitored ankle tag which tracked all his movements and put him in the area.
He was arrested on November 27, 2019, but refused to answer questions in interview and was released under investigation.
The court heard that despite being under investigation for the shooting, Lewis spent the next year jointly running a drug dealing conspiracy.
Mr Temkin said he was identified as the user of the EncroChat handle ‘BlazeBat’, who along with an unidentified associate behind the handle ‘Nodaysoff’, trafficked commercial quantities of heroin, cocaine and cannabis between their base in Woodchurch and Rhyl in North Wales.
Alongside running drugs, Lewis acted as a “middle-man” for the sale of a terrifying array of machine guns and semi-automatic handguns. In discussions with other EncroChat users, Lewis shared a shopping list including AK47 assault rifles, Skorpion sub-machine guns, Uzis and self-loading handguns.
Earlier this year Lewis was convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis and conspiracy to sell or transfer prohibited weapons.
He was jailed for a total of 24 years with an extended five years on licence, comprising of a 13 year sentence for the drugs and firearms conspiracy with a consecutive 11 year extended sentence for the shooting.
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