An innocent woman was killed when a gunman fired 12 shots outside a pub on Christmas Eve, a court has learned. This was the culmination of a feud between rival groups.
The family of Elle Edwards, 26, watched in court on Tuesday as vivid CCTV footage was played, showing the moment the shooter had just fired the Scorpion submachine gun at a group of people outside the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey Village , Wirral, Merseyside, fired at midnight on Christmas Eve last year.
Connor Chapman, 23, is accused of committing the murder after past riots broke out between rival groups at the Woodchurch estate and Ford estate, which are on opposite sides of the M53 motorway in Wirral.
Nigel Power KC, who opened the trial at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday, said the targets of the shooting were Jake Duffy and Kieran Salkeld.
He added, “Although they were injured, Elle Edwards, a completely innocent bystander, was killed by two bullets entering the back of the left side of her head.”
CCTV showed the gunman, who drove a stolen Mercedes A-Class car to and from the scene, waited in the area for three hours before opening fire, killing Ms Edwards, who collapsed on Mr Salkeld.
Three other bystanders, Harry Loughran, Liam Carr and Nicholas Speed, were injured when the attacker fired 12 shots from the gun, which was never recovered, the court learned.
Mr Power told the jury that Chapman drove to the home of his friend and co-defendant Thomas Waring, 20, in Barnston, Wirral, after the shooting.
The jury learned that there had been a number of events leading up to Ms Edwards’ murder, including restraining orders preventing Chapman from contacting named people, including Mr Duffy and Mr Salkeld, and a burglary at the November and two shootings in December.
The day before the shooting, on December 23, Mr Duffy and Mr Salkeld, of the Ford estate, attacked Sam Searson, of the Woodchurch estate, the court was told.
Mr Power said: “We say it shows that what might otherwise be viewed as the accidental or inexplicable shooting of a wholly innocent woman, Elle Edwards, was in fact, on the one hand, the culmination of an ongoing feud between people, the Woodchurch estate, and on the other hand, from the Ford estate, which included Jake Duffy and Kieran Salkeld, who were the intended victims of the shooting.”
The jury was told that Chapman, wearing a white shirt and gray tie and with his hair tied back, accepted his involvement in the disposal of the stolen Mercedes which was found at a “remote location” in Frodsham, Cheshire, on New Year’s Eve. was burned out.
Mr Power said the accused claimed he was home on the evening of the shooting and that someone had come to his home on Houghton Road, Woodchurch, to collect the car key and three bags of cocaine.
He told jurors that DNA evidence from a bullet casing found at the scene was “enormously significant” and provided strong evidence linking Chapman to the bullet fired.
Chapman denies the murder of Ms Edwards, two counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He also denies possession of a Skorpion submachine gun with intent to endanger life and possession of ammunition with intent to endanger life.
Waring, of Private Drive, Barnston, Wirral, denies possessing a prohibited weapon and aiding a perpetrator by helping Chapman dispose of the car.
The trial will continue on Wednesday.