Three held after gang killings hit Manchester

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Three men were being questioned yesterday about a spate of gangland killings in Manchester. The suspects were among 15 arrested by armed police in a raid.

Three men were being questioned yesterday about a spate of gangland killings in Manchester. The suspects were among 15 arrested by armed police in a raid.

At least seven people have been shot dead in the past nine months and fears have grown that Manchester is descending into a spiral of violence similar to the Eighties era of gangland turf wars, which earned it the nickname "Gun-chester".

In the latest police operation, armed officers raided a house in the Moss Side area of the city and arrested eight men and seven women who are believed to be their wives and girlfriends. A firearm was also recovered. The raid is said to have followed an anonymous call from a man who dialled 999 and claimed that a hostage was being held at the address, in Ruskin Avenue. Covert observation specialists watched the house and armed officers were called to the area.

Several members of the "Gooch" and "New Gooch" drug gangs were thought to have entered the building.

Greater Manchester Police said yesterday that three of the men arrested were "wanted for questioning in connection with murders that have taken place in the last six to nine months in the Moss Side area". One senior detective said: "We have been after these people for a long time. This is a significant breakthrough in our inquiries."

In the most recent case Gabriel Egharevba, 17, was killed by a shot to his head shortly before 10pm on 14 January in Longsight, an inner-city area, by a gunman and his accomplice firing from a motorcycle. Residents ran to help the teenager and found him bleeding heavily. Detectives said the victim, who had been going to his mother's house on a mountain bike, was not regarded as a gang member.

In the second case Simon Brown, 27, was shot in the head at a community centre at the end of a Christmas party. Police have been investigating claims that he might have unwittingly crossed a hardened criminal.Brown was ambushed by a group of men on a crowded stairway of the Old Library Centre in Cheetham Hill as he was leaving the party with cousins and friends at 5.45am. One of the men pulled out a pistol and shot him in the head.

Police said Brown had no involvement with drugs or gangs in Fallowfield, Manchester, where he lived.

In the third killing, on Saturday 31 July, Martin Bennett, 25, a senior member of a gang, was shot in the chest as he walking through Moss Side in the early evening. He was bundled into a car and taken to hospital but died later. Shortly before the shooting, Bennett had been involved in what police say was a "minor fracas" outside a newsagent's shop .

Detective Superintendent Tony Porter, commenting on Thursday's raid, said yesterday: "What has happened overnight demonstrates that if the community support us we are prepared to act immediately."

Comments