'Vicious' attack which led to Elle Edwards' tragic death
Moment man is beaten up in gang attack that led to pub shooting which left innocent Elle Edwards dead – as beautician’s killer faces being jailed for life today
- Connor Chapman, 23, convicted of murdering Elle Edwards, 26, on the Wirral
- Intended targets were Kieran Salkeld and Jake Duffy amid rival gang incidents
A video has revealed a shocking fight which led to a shooting one day later in a packed beer garden on Christmas Eve that left an innocent beautician dead.
Connor Chapman, 23, was convicted of murdering 26-year-old Elle Edwards in the shooting outside The Lighthouse pub in Wallasey on the Wirral in Merseyside.
The killer was also convicted at Liverpool Crown Court of attempting to murder his intended targets Kieran Salkeld and Jake Duffy, in the culmination of a series of incidents between rival gangs on the Wirral’s Woodchurch and Ford estates.
Chapman had been lying in wait outside the pub for nearly three hours. Only the day before, Salkeld and Duffy, of the Ford gang, beat up Sam Searson, of Woodchurch, which led to both men later being jailed in February for assault and affray.
The trial heard the attack was the culmination of a feud between groups on the Woodchurch and Beechwood estates, on either side of the M53 in Wirral.
Kieran Salkeld and Jake Duffy, of the Ford gang, beat up Sam Searson, of Woodchurch, on December 23, 2022 – which led to both men later being jailed in February for assault and affray
Elle Edwards, 26, was killed outside the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey Village in Merseyside
Connor Chapman, 23, opened fire with a Skorpion sub-machine gun outside the pub last year
Chapman was also convicted of attempting to murder his intended targets Kieran Salkeld (left) and Jake Duffy (right), in the culmination of a series of incidents between rival gangs
Miss Edwards’s father Tim outside Liverpool Crown Court after the guilty verdict yesterday
The prosecution alleged Chapman was attempting to kill Salkeld and Duffy, both of whom were seriously injured in the shooting.
READ MORE Innocent Elle Edwards’ final moments: Beautician laughs and hugs friends as she celebrates Christmas Eve before she was shot dead in pub beer garden – as her heartbroken father says he hopes gangland killer found guilty of her murder ‘rots in hell’
The pair, from the Beechwood estate, had attacked Mr Searson in the street in Rock Ferry on December 23, in an incident caught on camera on a Ring doorbell. The court heard that it was a ‘vicious attack’.
The footage showed Salkeld and Duffy cornering Mr Searson in the front yard of a property, before kicking, punching and stamping on him.
A woman on the opposite side of the road can be heard shouting ‘get off him’ and ‘there’s kids here’ during the assault, which lasts for about a minute.
Today, Chapman will be sentenced one day after he was convicted following a three-and-a-half week trial of the murder of Edwards on December 24 last year.
He injured five other people, including Duffy and Salkeld, when he fired 12 shots from the Skorpion sub-machine gun before driving away from the scene in a stolen Mercedes.
Three other men: Harry Loughran, Liam Carr and Nicholas Speed; who were unconnected to the feud, were also injured in the shooting.
Mr Justice Goose told the court he would consider imposing a whole life order.
The jury also convicted Chapman of two counts of attempted murder, two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, as well as possession of a Skorpion sub-machine gun with intent to endanger life and ammunition with intent to endanger life.
He pleaded guilty before the trial to a charge of handling stolen goods and admitted going to burn out the car used in the shooting on December 31.
Miss Edwards died after choosing to step outside for a cigarette just before midnight
Tim Edwards, father of Elle Edwards, with members of his family including his mother (left) outside Liverpool Crown Court yesterday after Chapman was found guilty of murder
A file photo of a Skorpion sub-machine gun, similar to that used in the Christmas Eve shooting
The car used in the shooting was found burnt out in Frodsham, Cheshire, on New Year’s Day
Co-defendant Thomas Waring, 20, was found guilty of the possession of a prohibited firearm and assisting an offender by helping to burn out the stolen Mercedes used in the shooting.
READ MORE Elle Edwards’ gangster killer tried to cover his tracks with shameless Facebook post slamming murder four days after he blasted innocent woman dead
The jury heard Chapman lay in wait outside the pub in a stolen Mercedes for almost three hours before firing the weapon, which the court heard was capable of firing 15 rounds a second.
Chapman told the jury he had not been using the vehicle, which he described as a ‘pool car’ for him and other criminals, on the night of the murder but had given the car key to another man, whom he refused to name.
CCTV footage showed the gunman drive away from the Lighthouse in the moments after the shooting and then arrive at Private Drive in Barnston, the home address of co-defendant Waring.
The man, with long hair, was seen in the footage appearing to drop the gun as he walked towards Waring’s home.
Chapman admitted a charge of handling stolen goods before the trial started and told the jury on December 31 he had travelled with the unnamed man who took the car key when the Mercedes was burnt out in Frodsham, Cheshire.
He denied that Waring had been with him, although cell site evidence showed Waring’s phone travelled with the car.
Miss Edwards’s father Tim stared at Chapman as the verdicts were returned, and when he was taken from the dock said: ‘You coward.’
Speaking outside court, Mr Edwards said: ‘Those two cowards in there decided to drag it out for four weeks, put all these people through that and everyone else around it, involved in the case. I can’t thank the police enough for what they did and we got there in the end, the right result.
Flowers and tribute messages were left outside the Lighthouse pub following the shooting
Thomas Waring (pictured) also faces a lengthy term after he was found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon and assisting an offender
‘I hope them two never see another Christmas again ever in their lives.’
Senior investigating officer in the case, Detective Superintendent Paul Grounds, described Chapman as a ‘dangerous and ruthless individual’.
He said: ‘Connor Chapman knew exactly what he was doing when he left his home address on December 24, getting in a stolen car in possession of a Skorpion machine pistol.
‘He drove to the Lighthouse pub where he spent a number of hours there before finding a car parking space that gave him a real clear view of who was outside.
‘He then left his car with no regard for anybody else, intent on firing that gun at his intended targets, Kieran Salkeld and Jake Duffy, with not a care of what would happen to anybody else who was stood outside of the pub.’
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