Two men have been jailed for transporting a gun which had been used to shoot a mother and her seven-year-old son on their doorstep and was also used in a gangland shooting in Wigan.
Jayne Hickey and her son, Christian, suffered leg wounds in the targeted attack at their family home in Salford last October, which was among a spate of shootings after the city’s “Mr Big” Paul Massey was shot dead three months earlier.
On December 15 last year, Christopher Hall, 46, was caught with a Heckler and Koch 9mm self-loading pistol and a Baikal 9mm self-loading pistol, equipped with a silencer, when he was stopped by police in a taxi near the Frozen Mop pub in Mobberley, Cheshire.
Both weapons were not loaded but were in working order when they were moved from an unknown location at the request of an organised criminal or gang, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Tests later showed the weapons had been used in a total of nine shootings in Liverpool between November 2011 and August 2014, resulting in six woundings.
The Heckler and Koch gun was also used to shoot a man three times at a car wash in Ashton, on March 30 last year and then again on October 12 in the shooting at the Hickey family home in Winton.
Aldair Warmington, 29, was shown to have co-ordinated Hall’s taxi journey by mobile phone after he earlier visited his co-defendant’s address and then travelled to Mobberley in a separate taxi, the court heard.
Nina Grahame, defending Warmington, said her client was “not at the top of the tree” and had received directions from a third party who was not in the dock.
Sentencing, Judge Richard Mansell QC told the pair: “The fact they (the guns) have been used demonstrate they were being moved to a criminal gang operating in the Cheshire area, more likely the Liverpool area, and were most likely to be used again.
“It must have been apparent to you that they were being moved between organised criminals and both acting as you did have played an integral part in ensuring these firearms stayed in circulation.”
Warmington, of no fixed abode, was jailed for six years after pleading guilty last month to two counts of possessing a prohibited firearm and also received a three-month concurrent sentence for possessing a bladed weapon, a lock knife, on his arrest.
Hall, of Little Hulton, was jailed for five years after pleading guilty in March to the same two firearms offences.
Last November, Christian Hickey wrote a letter to Santa asking him to “help the police catch the people who hurt me”.
Two men confronted him and mother, Jayne, 29, when they opened their door and one of the assailants fired a number of shots at close range after a brief conversation in which they reportedly asked for the boy’s father, Christian Hickey senior.
No-one has been charged over the shooting.
Following sentencing, Detective Inspector Neil Blackwood, of Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Crime Division, said: “I hope this sentence serves as warning to anyone involved in gun crime. We are determined in our mission for gun-free streets and will continue to proactively pursue those involved in the illegal use and possession of firearms.
“If you have a weapon illegally or know where one is being kept, I would urge you to hand it in or contact police or tell us an anonymously where it is.”