Gang war: Two men convicted over shooting at Wigan car wash

Two men have been convicted over the shooting of a man at a Wigan car wash.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 2:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 3:53 pm
The scene following the shooting in Ashton

A trial into the shooting of Jamie Rothwell at Express Hot Hand Car Wash on Bolton Road in Ashton back in 2015, has concluded after seven and a half weeks of evidence.

The jury has today returned the verdict.

Jacob Harrison, 26, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause GBH and John Kent, 56, was found guilty of conspiracy to cause GBH and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

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The scene following the shooting in Ashton

Operation Sun, a police investigation into the shooting, saw the two men charged back in July 2018.

Kent, who was living in Ashton at the time, was described as a "regular" at the car wash.

In a separate but connected attack, three men who plotted a gangland revenge attack in which a mother and her seven-year-old son were shot on their doorstep have been convicted of conspiracy to cause GBH with intent.

Jayne Hickey, 30, and her child were hit in the legs after answering the door to Carne Thomasson, 28, and an unidentified gunman in Salford on 12 October 2015.

Jacob Harrison

Both shootings followed escalating violence between two rival gangs – one calling itself the A team and the other headed up by Michael Carroll.

The prosecution case was that the A team planned to shoot Carroll’s close friend Chris Hickey in revenge for the murder of Paul Massey, who was gunned down outside his house three months earlier. But the attack was botched and Mrs Hickey and her son were fired at instead. Both victims required extensive hospital treatment but survived.

Rebecca Macaulay-Addison from the CPS said: “Even though they were not the intended target, the shooting of a seven-year-old boy and his mother on their doorstep rightly appalled everyone and demonstrated the determination of the gang to use guns and violence to settle scores no matter what the consequences.”

Aldaire Warmington, 32 and Christopher Hall, 49, were also convicted at Manchester Crown Court for conspiracy to cause GBH.

John Kent

In the earlier attack on 30 March 2015, a passenger got out of a Seat and shot Carroll’s close associate Mr Rothwell in the abdomen and arm outside Express Car Wash in Ashton-in-Makerfield. The gunman has never been identified.

Ms Macaulay-Addison added: “Both of the attacks happened on residential streets in Greater Manchester, putting the lives of members of the public at risk.

“Gun crime undermines the safety of local communities. The CPS and police in the North West are determined to leave no stone unturned in building strong cases and bringing violent criminals before the courts.”

Building the case

At trial, the CPS presented forensic evidence that proved the same Heckler & Koch P7 loading pistol was used in both shootings. This weapon was recovered two months after the Hickeys shooting when police stopped a taxi Christopher Hall was travelling in and found this gun and another in his possession. Hall and Aldaire Warmington pleaded guilty to possession of the firearms in an earlier case.

A combination of mobile phone, cell site and number plate recognition data also proved three other gang members – Lincoln Warmington (Aldaire’s twin brother), Dominic Walton and James Coward – conspired to pervert the course of justice by helping to dispose of an Audi S3 used as a getaway vehicle in the Hickeys attack. Extensive CCTV analysis and reconstruction evidence was used to identify the car.

Ms Macaulay-Addison added: “This has been a very large, complex case involving a huge amount of evidence. The CPS worked closely with police and prosecuting counsel to analyse and piece together the many strands, to prove the contact and associations between the offenders and the part each one played in the planning of these crimes.”