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Thug got autistic brother to hide submachine gun in family home

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 17/02/2022 Neil Docking

A violent thug exploited his autistic brother by having him keep a submachine gun in his family's home.

Liam Rogan and his "partner in crime" Ryan Kennedy were on remand in prison over the brutal kidnap of a 17-year-old boy.

But they had arranged for Liam's younger brother, Jake Rogan, to stash a Heckler & Koch MP5 at the house he shared with his girlfriend and baby daughter.

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Jake Rogan has learning difficulties and his partner Natalie Moore was blissfully unaware of the "military grade weapon" hidden in their loft.

A judge today said Jake Rogan - who had no previous convictions - ended up in jail and Miss Moore could have been separated from her baby as a result of Liam Rogan and Kennedy's actions.

The ruthless pair appeared for sentence at Liverpool Crown Court alongside four other men, after a three-week trial in which Miss Moore, 27, was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Stephen McNally, prosecuting, said the two guns were both under the control of Liam Rogan, 32, and Kennedy, 28.

Police found the submachine gun in a raid at Miss Moore's home in Patmos Close, Everton, on February 15, 2020.

Jake Rogan, 29, was "very nervous and shaking" and told officers he had put something in the loft.

The adapted German firearm - the first of its type seized in England - had with it three magazines, including one loaded with six 9mm bullets, plus another 22 rounds and five shotgun cartridges.

The Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun © Liverpool Echo The Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun

A Merseyside Police firearms expert said the "rare" gun was mainly used by the military and law enforcement agencies.

Mr McNally said: "Raymoth Anderson's evidence was that MP5 could hold a 30-round magazine.

"Selecting 'automatic' mode would allow that MP5 to discharge all 30 rounds, in less than three seconds, from a single pull of the trigger."

Jake Rogan, who told police his brother asked him to mind the gun, was jailed for five and a half years in June 2020.

The weapon was later found to bear both Liam Rogan and Kennedy's DNA.

Just days after that gun was seized by police, they used a mobile phone hidden in their cell to order the transfer of an Italian revolver.

Mr McNally said they were "literally partners in crime" and sharing a prison cell at HMP Liverpool, where a phone was used to contact 31-year-old William Egan, a convicted cannabis dealer.

That led to police searching a property Egan and his girlfriend rented, but had recently moved out of, in Beryl Walk, Fazakerley, and finding the Italian revolver.

The Liam Rogan/Kennedy phone had provided Egan with the contact details of John Wells, 37, who also contacted fellow crook Anthony McVey, 32.

Cell site evidence showed McVey near Wells' home in Maritime Place, Everton, late on February 22.

Egan travelled there on February 25, when he texted Wells: "Am rnd the corner so wen ure bk get on me."

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Prosecutors said this was a handover of the revolver, but Wells later claimed he met Egan for a cannabis deal.

Wells ordered a taxi to Beryl Walk, where undercover police watched Egan - wearing gloves - until he left at 5.30pm.

That night, police searched the house and in a garden shed discovered a yellow JD Sports bag, with the .22 revolver inside. It revealed DNA attributable to Egan, McVey and Liam Rogan.

In bedrooms in the house officers also found more than half a kilo of cannabis in buckets, with a street value of around £6,000, plus scales, tick lists and plastic bags.

Egan's fingerprints were on the buckets, along with those of 21-year-old Thomas Gallagher, a "street dealer".

Liam Rogan, of no fixed address, admitted possessing the Heckler and Koch and was found guilty of possessing the revolver and arranging its transfer.

Kennedy, of Westmoreland Place, Everton, was found guilty of those three offences.

Both convicted drug dealers, they are currently serving jail sentences imposed in April 2020 for offences including kidnap and assault.

That was after they abducted a vulnerable teenager outside a pizza shop, attacked him with a stun gun, threatened him with a Samurai sword, and tried to burgle a school uniform shop, in September 2019.

An antique revolver found during police raids in Beryl Walk, Fazakerley in 2020 © Merseyside Police An antique revolver found during police raids in Beryl Walk, Fazakerley in 2020

On that occasion, Liam Rogan was locked up for seven and a half years, before he received a further two years for dealing Class A drugs.

Kennedy was jailed for eight years, with an extended three years on licence.

Judge Brian Cummings, QC, today said Jake Rogan "knowingly" and Miss Moore "unknowingly" were "exploited" by the pair.

He told Kennedy's barrister: "They weren't people who ever would have had anything to do with a submachine gun if it wasn't for your client and his cellmate."

Ben Williams, defending Kennedy, suggested he wouldn't have made or been part of those arrangements.

Lloyd Morgan, defending Liam Rogan, said he admitted to police he "used his brother's house to store the firearm".

He said: "It would be artificial to argue there wasn't an element of exploitation, but in my submission it went without any components of coercion, intimidation, or seeking to put anyone in fear of the consequences of not storing the firearm."

Judge Cummings said the submachine gun was capable of "killing two or more people at the same time or in rapid succession".

He said he had no doubt Liam Rogan took the lead in identifying his brother's home to store the "lethal weapon", but also that this was done with Kennedy's "full knowledge and approval".

He told Kennedy that Jake Rogan must accept some responsibility, but added: "I do not believe that he would ever have become involved in anything like this, if it hadn't been for his brother and you. As a result he is now serving a five and a half year prison sentence.

"In addition, you and Liam Rogan placed Natalie Moore in a position where she had to undergo the ordeal of a crown court trial and stood in jeopardy of going to prison and losing her baby, at least for a period of years."

Judge Cummings jailed Kennedy for 13 years, consecutive to his existing extended sentence.

He jailed Rogan for 11 years and three months, consecutive to his existing prison sentence.

Egan, of Tenlands Drive, Prescot, admitted possessing the revolver and possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

The dad, already a convicted cannabis dealer, was jailed for six years.

Convicted robber Wells, of no fixed address, was found guilty of possessing the revolver and arranging its transfer.

McVey, of Worcester Drive, Clubmoor, who is also a convicted robber, was found guilty of possessing the revolver.

Both of them also fell to be sentenced for a "terrifying" aggravated burglary in Stafford in 2020, which led Judge Cummings to conclude they were "dangerous".

Wells was jailed for six years for the gun offences, consecutive to nine years with an extended four years on licence for the burglary.

McVey was jailed for five years for his gun offence, consecutive to eight years with an extended four years on licence for the burglary.

Gallagher, of Formosa Drive, Fazakerley, admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

He had spent three weeks in custody, plus the equivalent of 177 days on a tagged home curfew.

Gallagher received a 12-month community order, with a 30-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

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