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The boy who thought he could rule South Liverpool by terror

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 08/05/2022 Neil Docking

The terror a teenage boy brought to South Liverpool as the leader of a gun toting drug gang can today be exposed in full.

Harry O'Brien was described as a child with ADHD and a "defiance disorder" who had a "disrupted education". But at the age of just 16, the baby-faced cannabis dealer became the boss of a teen crew behind three terrifying shootings and a firebombing.

The ECHO won a legal battle to name O'Brien, when the now 17-year-old was locked up for the brutality he brought to the streets of this city. Now we can reveal how he exploited fellow children and men nearly twice his age to carry out his bidding.

READ MORE: Man finds loaded gun after thugs threaten to shoot him

Previously unpublished photos show the teen flashing the spoils of his crimes. Yet they also illustrate the fear he brought to innocent families as he went to war with rivals in a campaign of wanton and brazen violence.

Whether it was a case of not caring whether he was caught, or in his thirst for revenge not thinking at all, the hotheaded thug simply couldn't control his temper. Soon, detectives were able to link him to a trail of destruction.

This is the story of how a boy barely out of school emerged as one of the most dangerous offenders on Merseyside Police's radar. And how the brief reign he and his crew of thugs enjoyed was brought crashing down by detectives.

A "lucrative" business

Harry O'Brien was living in Mountview Street, Toxteth when he first came to the attention of the law, at the age of just 12. He was arrested over riding electric scooters in the street and a conviction for a public order offence followed in 2017.

Smoking cannabis was also at the heart of his early offending. A year later, having moved to Buckland Street, Aigburth, he was caught in Dingle with the drug and a black lock knife.

In 2020, he was convicted of possessing cannabis and dangerous driving. He was placed on a Youth Rehabilitation Order, as the authorities tried to halt his descent into further criminality.

It didn't work. By now he was described as the "head" of a "successful and lucrative business" selling cannabis on the streets of Dingle. The operation involved a "graft" phone line and dealers working late into the night on his behalf.

"Bulk" text messages, sometimes known as "flare" texts, were sent from his phones to up to 480 customers. This was often done by one of his "trusted lieutenants", Aaron Donohoe, but also by a man O'Brien later called upon to carry out a cowardly arson attack - Mohammed Mohammed.

"On til 10"

The texts advertised the different strains of cannabis available and the prices for different amounts. In one text then 19-year-old Donohoe told customers he was "on til 10" and in another he offered for sale: "Few qs 50s halfs 100er."

On one occasion, O'Brien and another of his deputies, then 16-year-old Michael McClean delivered a rucksack full of cannabis to Donohoe by motorbike. The pair later stashed that bike and helmets at the Belle Vale flat of Nathan Kelly, then 27, who also agreed to look after and answer the graft phone.

On another date, the same duo took a taxi to the Dingle home of Blaine Woods, then 28. They dropped off two and a half kilos of the drug, with an estimated street value of £24,000, which Woods agreed to store.

O'Brien was making significant profits from his drug dealing - police would eventually seize nearly £20,000 in cash from him and his gang. And his influence was such that men more than a decade his senior were willing to store his illicit product and the tools of his trade.

"Feud" leads to "callous and cowardly" attacks

The young gang leader was clearly ambitious. But his ambition drew him into a conflict that spiralled out of control and led to undercover police watching his every move.

Liverpool Crown Court heard by the end of 2020, O'Brien had become involved in "some sort of dispute" with members of two families. They were named in court as the Franchettis and the Rosarios.

Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, said he had no doubt all of the shootings and the arson attack that followed were "the manifestation of a feud". He said this feud was between O'Brien's gang and "others" with "whom they had a real or perceived grievance".

The judge said the exact nature of the feud hadn't emerged in court. But he concluded the arson attack was organised by O'Brien "in pursuance of an ongoing dispute related to the commercial supply of cannabis".

The firebombing was the culmination of a wave of attacks. As Judge Flewitt observed: "Unhappily, the lives of wholly innocent people, including young children, were put at risk by the callous and cowardly actions of all those involved in these incidents."

Ramming of mum's car leads to "revenge" attack

The first of those incidents unfolded late on December 29, 2020, when O'Brien's mum, Christine McPartland, was driving her son, McClean, Donohoe and an unknown fourth male in her BMW.

At the same time, the unknown occupants of a silver BMW X5 were prowling around Dingle, looking for O'Brien and his gang.

Ms McPartland rang police at 10.30pm to report that a large silver car had "rammed" into and damaged her vehicle in Beresford Road.

Just minutes before she made that call, O'Brien and his crew were captured on CCTV running down Beresford Road, heading to Donohoe's home in Bewsey Close.

Once there, Donohoe rang "trusted" thug Daniel Lawler, then 19, who previously helped acquire a stolen Audi on false plates.

That Audi A1 - taken in a burglary at a family's home in Whimbrel Close, Runcorn as they slept upstairs on November 30, 2020 - had been sold to O'Brien at Sefton Park by Shaun Kelly.

The "career criminal", then 35, would later reveal to police that he "got the car for doing something for someone in jail" and used it for a month, before selling it to a "kid" - O'Brien - for £300.

A taxi was ordered to take O'Brien and his friends to Riverside Drive, near the Britannia Pub, where the Audi had been parked up the night before. David Temkin, QC, prosecuting, said: "What happened next was revenge."

Bullet flies into innocent family's home

Now armed with a loaded gun, O'Brien, McClean, Donohoe and the fourth male set off in the Audi, with banned driver McClean at the wheel. Their target was the BMW X5.

CCTV footage showed the two cars came within metres of each other on Dingle Lane. At 11.11pm, three shots were fired from the Audi at the BMW.

Judge Flewitt said he couldn't be sure, but he strongly suspected the front seat passenger and shooter was Harry O'Brien. He said: "I base that suspicion on Harry O'Brien's dominant position within the group and his involvement in the later shootings.

"However, it doesn't matter who actually fired the gun. Because this was a joint enterprise for which each of the participants is equally responsible."

One shot missed the BMW and pierced the glass front door of a "shocked" mum and dad's home. Mr Temkin said: "They were in the process of going to bed. They heard screeching car tyres and found a bullet on the hallway stairs."

Judge Flewitt said: "In the house at that time was a seven-year-old child. If anyone had been in the hall when that shot was fired, then those responsible may have been facing an allegation of murder."

Shots fired straight through windscreen

After the shooting, O'Brien and Donohoe got out and fled, taking the gun with them according to prosecutors. McClean and the mystery fourth youth continued to chase the BMW.

Both cars mounted the pavement, with the BMW hitting and writing off a woman's parked car in Dingle Lane. Eventually the BMW escaped.

Police found the BMW half an hour later, abandoned on Shorefields Village in Dingle, with a bullet hole in the front passenger door. Enquiries revealed it had been bought earlier that day in Liverpool.

The Audi was ditched in nearby Caryl Street, where it was recovered days later. McClean's DNA was on the gear stick and three spent bullet casings were in the car - fired from a Glock-type semi-automatic pistol.

Unbelievably, there were three bullet holes in the front windscreen. Mr Temkin said: "Whoever was in control of the firearm had simply shot three times through the front windscreen."

Gunman on an electric bike

From the day after the first shooting for a period of about three weeks, O'Brien and others used rooms at the Staybridge Suites Hotel in Keel Wharf.

The gang boss needed new transport, because he was planning another shooting - "a targeted attack on the Franchetti family in their family home". With that in mind, he bought a Sur-Ron electric bike.

CCTV from the hotel showed late on January 5, 2021, O'Brien and McClean wheeling the bike into a lift and up to the sixth floor. By the time it left the hotel, distinctive yellow sticks had been removed from its frame, giving it a completely black appearance.

After a meeting at a house in Beresford Road, Dingle between the gang leader, McClean, Donohoe and Lawler, the plan was put into action. O'Brien and Lawler set off on the bike - one armed with the pistol - on the evening of January 8.

Bullets in living room ceiling

Prosecutors couldn't say which one of the thugs rode the bike and which one sat behind and pulled the trigger. But they were captured on CCTV heading down Eridge Street - both of their mobile phones now inactive.

Just after 8.45pm, Donna Rosario rang police to say shots were fired through the living room window of her Sundridge Street home. Mr Temkin said: "She, her partner Ian Franchetti, and their daughter were at home in the living room at the time."

Three bullet holes were found in the living room blinds and curtains, three bullets embedded in the living room wall and ceiling, and three bullet casings in the street. Once again, they came from the same Glock-type gun.

1am attack

O'Brien and Lawler were not finished there. Just after 1am on January 20, on the same electric bike, they targeted the Heffey family, in Beloe Street.

Mobile phone cell site evidence showed they travelled from the area of O'Brien's home to the scene. Once there, a single shot was fired at an upstairs bedroom.

Mr Temkin said: "This was where 24-year old Joel Heffey was asleep. Joel Heffey and Ian Franchetti junior were associates."

Police received an anonymous call at 1.05am and attended the address. Mr Temkin said: "There were three occupants, all members of the Heffey family.

"None of them wanted to provide an account. But the police were allowed into the property."

A bullet had shot through the ceiling of the victim's bedroom and was found in the loft insulation. Outside on the pavement lay a spent 9mm bullet casing.

Children flee from blaze

The gang next decided to target the Dingle Lane house of Claire Bowness, at home with her three teenage children. Mr Temkin said: "Notably they were all from the Rosario family. Ian Franchetti senior is those children's uncle."

The QC said this arson attack was the "brainchild" of O'Brien, who sought the help of a then 14-year-old boy, from Toxteth, who cannot be named for legal reasons. O'Brien also enlisted Sian Kanu, then 19, who recruited Mohammed, then 19, to carry out the firebombing.

A PCSO watched the boy filling a petrol canister at a Shell garage on Aigburth Road on February 1. The four conspirators then met the day before the arson attack at the Dingle home of a "vulnerable" person, who the ECHO has chosen not to name.

On the morning of February 5, just after 8am, Mohammed took a bag containing the same petrol canister to Ms Bowness' home. CCTV showed the property "bursting into flames" after he poured petrol through the letterbox and ignited it.

Mr Temkin said: "The fire spread some way into the property, moving from the hallway, to the staircase and to the upper floor. Claire Bowness and the Rosario children, with their dog, managed to escape out of the rear of the property. However, they all required medical treatment for smoke inhalation."

Blunders and revelations

Mohammed fled the burning home. But in a pivotal blunder, he had left the petrol canister outside the house. The screw cap contained his DNA.

That wasn't the gang's only mistake. Police also identified Mohammed in a photo, which showed him in The Elms, "pausing for breath" as he made his escape.

The day beforehand, the 14-year-old boy had searched for the target address on Apple Maps. He had made sure Mohammed knew which property to set alight.

After the attack, Kanu repeatedly called his recruit and, when he couldn't reach him, even rang Mohammed's mum. Eventually, Kanu managed to speak to the arsonist, in a call lasting nearly eight minutes.

Police were later able to show the four conspirators then went back to the vulnerable person's home. Prosecutors labelled this the "post-arson debriefing".

On February 11, the 14-year-old boy was arrested and interviewed. Mr Temkin said: "He revealed a great deal about the plans for the arson and about the meetings before and after the incident."

Arsonist paid by gang boss

The boy told police at the time of the arson he was at home in bed. But when shown a photo of the petrol canister, he said he'd used one like that about two weeks earlier, to fill up his friend's motorbike. He named that friend as O'Brien.

The youth admitted that the day before the arson, he had searched on his phone for the address of the home set alight. He said he'd done that because O'Brien had called him and asked him to show Mohammed where it was. The boy said he didn't know why O'Brien had asked him to do that.

Tellingly, the boy said he was aware O'Brien had been arguing with someone in the house that was set on fire. He said the surname of the person O'Brien was arguing with was "Rosario".

The boy told police that the next day he went to Kanu's house, where O'Brien, Mohammed and Kanu were talking about the fire. He said when Mohammed arrived, O'Brien gave him some money.

Smiles in dock turn to scowls

On July 1, the boy was interviewed again. That time he made no comment to all questions.

As Mr Temkin said, he had already "revealed a great deal". At the sentencing of the gang, he was allowed to sit outside of the dock, away from the other defendants.

O'Brien and his other co-accused could be seen laughing and smirking when some of the details of the case were outlined. When the boy's first police interview was summarised, those smiles turned to scowls.

A group of young men in the public gallery could also be heard muttering, leading to Judge Flewitt addressing defence counsel during a break in proceedings.

The judge said: "There are periods of amusement in the dock. I'm not going to interrupt proceedings, I'm not going to say anything about it... I might if people try and persuade me they're deeply remorseful, but they perhaps need to understand I can see pretty much everything from here, and similarly in the public gallery.

"In the public gallery there were quite a lot of glances and comments when Mr Temkin was opening the boy's interview. They're not doing their loved ones any good."

Cash stashed in grandparents' loft

Even before the boy was interviewed, O'Brien and some of his associates were already in the frame for the arson and shootings.

Undercover officers had been watching the gang's movements and subjecting them to surveillance for some time. O'Brien was interviewed by officers on January 11 and on February 8 and 9.

Both times he made no comment to all questions. So did McClean when he was lifted on January 11 and February 6.

On February 12, police raided the home of O'Brien's grandparents, who lived next door to him in Buckland Street, Aigburth. Officers found £13,590 in cash in a plastic bag in the loft. One note bore their grandson's fingerprint.

Panicked calls as police helicopter hovers above

April 21, 2021 was a key date in the downfall of the gang. That evening police raided Nathan Kelly's flat in Lee Park Avenue.

A regular customer of O'Brien, Nathan Kelly was said to have a "close" relationship with him, and had stored items including the "graft" phone for him.

When police arrived late that night, they first searched communal gardens outside. There, hidden under soil and gravel, was a black bin bag containing a New Army 1892 Colt .41 revolver.

Mr Temkin said: "There were a number of officers and it could not have gone unnoticed that there was considerable police presence in the area."

As a police helicopter hovered overhead and lit up the area with a floodlight, Nathan Kelly made two "panicked" calls to O'Brien. Both went to voicemail.

Loaded gun hidden in fish tank

At 11.35pm, officers stormed the address Nathan Kelly shared with his girlfriend and child. Officers found a .22 rimfire revolver in a disused fish tank on his balcony.

The viable weapon was loaded with eight bullets. Stephen McNally, prosecuting, said the gun was "ready for immediate use".

There was also a bag containing 36 Remington .22 cartridges suitable for the gun. These rifle cartridges had hollow point lead bullets - designed to expand on impact. A further nine bullets were retrieved.

Judge Flewitt said Nathan Kelly's crutch was leaning against the fish tank with the gun inside. The judge said: "He still maintained he didn't know it was there."

It was alleged Nathan Kelly was storing the loaded gun at his flat for O'Brien and McClean. Despite this, prosecutors said a charge against O'Brien in respect of that gun was later dropped for "pragmatic" reasons.

Flashing cash

The seizure of that firearm and the other weapon outside may have been a setback for the young duo. But you couldn't have told that from photos of the pair on April 26.

Just five days after that raid, O'Brien was pictured with wads of bank notes at the reception desk of the Adagio Hotel in Liverpool city centre. Another picture showed him flashing cash when eating at Elif restaurant in Bold Street with McClean.

But the source of their income was repeatedly being targeted. On April 28, officers went to the Llanrwst Close, Dingle home of then 18-year-old Jak Atkinson, and seized a black Adidas rucksack from his wardrobe containing street deals of cannabis, which he had been given to mind earlier that day.

Cash, drugs, knives and an axe seized

On May 19, police struck at Donohoe's Bewsey Close address. As police tried to force entry to the house, he opened an upstairs window and threw a mobile phone into his next door neighbour's garden, where it was found to contain incriminating evidence.

Police seized cannabis, scales, plastic bags and more phones. He would claim in interview the cannabis was for his own use, he wasn't a dealer, O'Brien was just his "mate" and he'd never seen a gun.

On June 11, officers raided the David Street property of Blaine Woods and recovered the much larger amount of the Class B drug he was minding for the gang. He kept quiet when interviewed.

O'Brien was arrested at his aunt's home in Aigburth Road on July 1. Police searched the property and found some £5,000 of cannabis plus cash, mobile phones, two knives and an axe.

He was interviewed on July 1. Again he stayed stum, as did McClean and Lawler when dragged in for questioning.

A "risk taker" in defiance of authority

Those said to be involved in the shootings and arson were charged with conspiring to possess a firearm, and to commit arson, both with intent to endanger life.

Ahead of a trial, O'Brien admitted lesser offences of conspiring to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and conspiring to commit arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered, which the Crown accepted. He had already admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis.

At his sentencing, Richard Pratt, QC, defending, said O'Brien had "diagnoses in the past of ADHD". He was described as "a risk taker". The court heard he also had "Oppositional Defiance Disorder".

This is said by the NHS to be defined by "negative and disruptive behaviour, particularly towards authority figures, such as parents and teachers". Mr Pratt said: "It may well be those illnesses, through no fault of his own, have contributed to this conduct."

Judge Flewitt said he noted from a pre-sentence report O'Brien's family background, "disrupted education" and diagnoses. He said: "I also note that concerns relating to drugs and exploitation have been a consistent feature in his childhood, but there is no evidence of exploitation in relation to these offences."

O'Brien had been held on remand at young offenders institution HMP Wetherby. There he received "numerous adjudications and loss of privileges for repeated breaches of prison regulations".

A very high risk of harm - at any time

Judge Flewitt said it was significant the report author wrote, consistent with the prosecution case, "that Harry O'Brien is a leader rather than a follower". They also observed O'Brien "can hold influence over others and his offences illustrate significant premeditation and recklessness within a context of gang activity, which is a concerning combination".

The author concluded: "At present, I would assess Harry as posing a very high risk of harm to others, namely those that he is in conflict with, other prisoners he may get into conflict with and members of the public who may have been unintentionally caught up in circumstances. This level of risk states that the potential event could happen at any time and the impact would be serious."

Judge Flewitt said the gang may not have had a formal hierarchy, but O'Brien was the "driving force and the prime mover". In respect of the arson, he said: "You drew in and exploited others who were not members of that group."

He locked "dangerous" O'Brien up for nine years and eight months, with an extended three years on licence. O'Brien must serve at least two thirds of that sentence behind bars, before he can apply for parole.

"Hopelessness" and "bravado"

McClean, now 18, of Upper Warwick Street, Toxteth, pleaded guilty to the cannabis and firearm plots. He also admitted two counts of possessing a prohibited firearm, and possessing ammunition.

Andrew Alty, defending, said a pre-sentence report "certainly doesn't make happy reading". However, he said it perhaps explained why his client was in the dock.

Mr Alty said there were "difficulties" in McClean's life, which he wouldn't disclose in open court. He said: "Hopelessness springs to mind - a life start that somebody like that has."

McClean had a previous conviction for dangerous driving from 2020. Mr Alty said suggested comments he made to a probation officer were "bravado".

Judge Flewitt bore in mind McClean's "disrupted upbringing and his complex and chequered education history". The judge said: "He has been identified as an exploited child although there is, in fact, no suggestion that he has been exploited in relation to these offences."

Judge Flewitt said McClean was also "dangerous", but he couldn't impose an extended sentence for his offences, due to the law. He locked him up for eight and a half years.

"A follower not a leader"

Lawler, now 21, of Halewood Road, Woolton, was found guilty of the firearm plot. He also admitted unrelated charges of dangerous driving and handling stolen goods - crashing a stolen Range Rover at 70mph and writing off a woman's car in Tuebrook.

Mark Phillips, defending, highlighted Lawler's lack of maturity. He said: "Daniel Lawler was a follower, not a leader."

Mr Phillips added: "He is not a stupid young man, he has potential. He left school with some GCSEs and he has a work ethic. He has been employed."

The barrister said Lawler, of previous good character, who made "poor choices" and associated with the "wrong people", belatedly accepted his guilt.

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Mr Phillips said his client hadn't considered the impact on his supportive family and those who knew him including a youth worker were "shocked".

He said Lawler became a dad at 19 and had worked hard to provide for his young son. He suggested he could turn his life around and wasn't dangerous.

Judge Flewitt said Lawler was either a driver or gunman in two shootings. He told him his "willingness to commit offences that create a high risk of serious injury or death" meant he was "dangerous".

Lawler was locked up for eight years, with an extended two years on licence. He too must serve at least two thirds of that term.

"What's he doing here?"

Donohoe, now 20, of Bewey Close, Toxteth, admitted the cannabis and firearm plots, on the basis he was only involved in the first shooting.

Frank Dillon, defending, said Donohoe was on the "threshold of adulthood" and could yet change. He said it was "remarkable" and sad he had no previous convictions but had got involved in crimes as serious as this.

Mr Dillon said Donohoe had A-Levels and that raised the question "what's he doing here?". He said the answer was found in a caution for cannabis possession and smoking the drug, along with "ill-chosen associations".

Judge Flewitt said a pre-sentence report found Donohoe was "well-educated and has potential but drifted into crime for financial reasons". He said there was no evidence Donohoe did anything more than provide support and encouragement in the first shooting.

Donohoe was locked up for six years and four months.

A promising football career in ruins

Sian Kanu outside Liverpool Crown Court © Liverpool Echo Sian Kanu outside Liverpool Crown Court

Jurors couldn't reach a verdict against Kanu, now 20, of Amity Street Toxteth, on the arson plot. He later admitted participating in the criminal activities of an organised crime group.

Brendan Carville, defending Kanu said he had a reference from Brian McGorry, academy director of the Robbie Fowler Education and Football College. He said Kanu at one stage "had a very good prospect of a career in non-league football" but because of his actions had lost this.

The lawyer said "but for the fact he smoked cannabis, as he admitted, he was a man of good character". Kanu was supported in court by his mum and his girlfriend - the mother of his baby daughter.

He was assessed as a low risk of reconviction. Mr Carville said Kanu had moved away from South Liverpool, was working in Warrington, and was a young father who "deserves a chance".

Judge Flewitt said Kanu recruited Mohammed, knowing the plan was an arson attack on an occupied home. He was locked up for two years and three months.

Tears in court

Tears flowed in the public gallery as one by the one the defendants in the dock were sent down. Last to be sentenced was the unnamed boy, now 15.

He admitted the arson plot at trial. Peter Finnigan, QC, defending, said the boy, of previous good character, had references that were "some of the best a young man could obtain".

He accepted his crime was "extremely serious" but urged the judge to spare him custody so he could be rehabilitated, stating he was the youngest person in the case "by a distance" and came from a supportive family.

Mr Finnigan said the boy had to be treated differently to the other defendants at trial and at the sentencing "because of the way he conducted himself once the police started to investigate this matter". He added: "I don't wish to go into any more detail about that."

Shouts of "little snake"

a man wearing a suit and tie: Judge Neil Flewitt, QC. © Jason Roberts photography Judge Neil Flewitt, QC.

Judge Flewitt said it was clear the boy's homelife and education had been "significantly disrupted". He said: "That is primarily due to threats made against him and his family by or on behalf of people who disapprove of his decision to speak to the police in interview."

However, he said the boy had made "good progress" and was now considered a low risk of harm to the public. The judge said he was of the view the boy became involved in the crimes "because he had fallen under the influence of others, older and more criminally sophisticated".

Judge Flewitt said he was satisfied the boy had been "exploited" and could be rehabilitated. Urging him to "get your life back on track" or find himself locked up like his co-accused, the judge handed him a two-year Youth Rehabilitation Order, with a six-month home curfew, between 8pm and 7am daily.

Three young men, who had remained in the public gallery, stormed out of court, one shouting "joke" and another "little snake".

Middle finger to police

Nathan Kelly, now 28, denied conspiracy to supply cannabis, two counts of possession of a prohibited firearm - relating to the two guns - and possession of ammunition. He was cleared in respect of the gun found in the garden, but convicted of the three other charges after a trial.

He had previous convictions including robberies and burglaries. He admitted breaching a suspended sentence imposed last April for possession of a bladed article - a "lock knife".

Jason Smith, defending, provided a letter from Nathan Kelly's mum, sitting in the public gallery. Judge Flewitt said he "echoed" her hope that he could get help for mental health issues in prison. Mr Smith said his client's crime had a "traumatic" effect on his mum and their family.

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Judge Flewitt said Nathan Kelly "should have pleaded [guilty]".The judge told him he had been convicted on "overwhelming evidence".

The judge said there was an element of "role reversal" and he "may have been manipulated" to an extent by younger defendants. But he said: "You were a grown man and you should have resisted whatever pressure was being put upon you."

Nathan Kelly bounced up and down on his toes in the dock as he was jailed for seven years, before he gave the middle finger with both hands to police officers sitting across the courtroom.

Arsonist awaits sentence

A family home in Dingle Lane was targeted in an arson attack © Liverpool Echo A family home in Dingle Lane was targeted in an arson attack

Shaun Kelly, now 36, of Harefield Road, Speke, admitted handling stolen goods. He also admitted unrelated matters of aggravated unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle - crashing a stolen motorbike at 90mph forcing The Rocket flyover to close - plus theft, five counts of fraud, two counts of burglary and breaching a suspended sentence for dangerous driving.

The crook, who had previous convictions for robbery and multiple burglaries, was jailed for three and a half years. He was banned from the road for four years and nine months.

Woods and Atkinson both admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis. They were handed 18-month community orders.

Mohammed, now 20, of Kingsley Road, Toxteth, admitted the cannabis and arson conspiracies. He will be sentenced on Tuesday.

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