Jury in Christmas Eve pub shooting trial shown sub-machine gun

Connor Chapman is accused of murdering Elle Edwards, who died when a gunman fired 12 shots outside the Lighthouse in Wallasey Village, Wirral.

Eleanor Barlow
Tuesday 20 June 2023 16:12 BST
A Skorpion sub-machine gun, similar to that used in the shooting which killed Elle Edwards, which was shown to the jury in the trial of Connor Chapman (Merseyside Police/PA)
A Skorpion sub-machine gun, similar to that used in the shooting which killed Elle Edwards, which was shown to the jury in the trial of Connor Chapman (Merseyside Police/PA)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

A sub-machine gun capable of firing 15 rounds a second has been shown to jurors in the trial of a man accused of shooting a beautician outside a pub on Christmas Eve.

Elle Edwards, 26, died when a gunman fired 12 shots from a Skorpion machine pistol outside the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey Village, Wirral, Merseyside, just before midnight on December 24 last year.

Connor Chapman, 23, is accused of murdering Ms Edwards in the shooting, alleged to be the culmination of a feud between groups on the Woodchurch and Beechwood estates, on either side of the M53 in Wirral.

On Tuesday, forensic firearms scientist Andre de Villiers Horne showed Liverpool Crown Court a Skorpion pistol of the type used in the shooting.

Before demonstrating how the gun would be loaded and discharged, he told jurors he had checked it before coming into court and there was no ammunition inside.

The weapon was then passed around the members of the jury.

Mr Horne said the weapon has three modes – safe, semi-automatic or fully automatic.

He told the jury that on fully automatic mode it would fire a volley of shots until the trigger was depressed.

He said: “This particular gun has got a high firing rate of 14 to 15 rounds per second so if you pull the trigger and don’t let go very quickly, before you can sneeze you would have emptied the magazine.”

Mr Horne told the court he believed the gun was in semi-automatic, or single-shooting mode, when it was used on December 24.

Footage of the shooting was played in court and Mr Horne said he identified an initial volley of seven shots fired by the gunman, before a further two shots, a brief pause and then another three shots.

He said: “If the gun had been set to fully automatic fire, at a rate of 14 to 15 rounds per second, that would have been much faster than that.”

Mr Horne told the jury that, had the gun been set to fully automatic, the first seven shots would have been fired within half a second.

Forensic scientist John Cullen said analysis of a bullet casing recovered from outside the Lighthouse showed low-level DNA profiles from at least two people.

He said: “There was very strong support that some of the DNA in that mixture had originated from Mr Chapman, rather than that none of the DNA had originated from him.”

The court heard that a single particle of gunshot residue was found on the back of a red glove recovered at the home of Thomas Waring, 20, where Chapman is alleged to have gone after the shooting.

Footage played earlier in the trial appeared to show the gunman wearing red gloves during the incident.

Forensic scientist Dr Mandy Wood said the finding was of little significance because only one particle of residue was found.

Mr Cullen said there was extremely strong support for the view that DNA from both Chapman and Waring was present in the glove and it was expected they had both worn the glove at some time.

Chapman denies the murder of Ms Edwards, two counts of attempted murder and three counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He also denies possession of a Skorpion sub-machine gun with intent to endanger life and possession of ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Waring, 20, of Private Drive, Barnston, Wirral, denies possessing a prohibited weapon and assisting an offender by helping Chapman to dispose of the car.

The trial will continue on Wednesday.

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