Crime

Gunman filmed firing makeshift firearm in Radcliffe field jailed

A man captured on mobile phone footage firing a makeshift firearm in broad daylight in the middle of a field in Radcliffe has been jailed for six years after being brought to justice by our detectives.

Liam Whitbread (24) was described by a judge as ‘dangerous’ as he was sentenced on Friday 1 April to also serve an additional three years on license after being found guilty by a jury of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Manchester Crown Court heard how on the sunny Bank Holiday weekend afternoon of Saturday 30 May 2020, Whitbread fired a homemade shotgun – known as a ‘slamgun’ – after carrying it in a towel onto Redbank playing fields.

Video footage filmed on a mobile phone shows the moment Whitbread fired the gun towards – detectives believe to be – a rival group on the park, as families sunbathed and children played nearby on the field.

He thankfully didn’t physically injure anyone but did cause distress and panic for many of those present.

We received a number of calls from the public about the incident and detectives from Bury CID began to investigate a complex inquiry to identify the gunman and to prove his involvement in the incident.

Investigators compiled a compelling case against Whitbread thanks to witnesses, CCTV trawls, and forensic analysis that – when presented to court over a four-day trial – saw a jury find him guilty.

Whitbread, of Grosvenor Street, Radcliffe was sentenced later that day to serve six years imprisonment and has been handed a further three years on license when he’s released as he was described as a ‘dangerous’ offender.

Detective Inspector Andy Wright, of GMP Bury’s CID, said: “The rash recklessness demonstrated by Liam Whitbread was as ridiculous as it was dangerous and it’s important that he now has to serve a number of years behind bars for what he did that day.

“It’s fortunate that nobody – including Whitbread himself – didn’t suffer any physical injuries as a result of his actions, but that doesn’t diminish the impact it had on those who were there or who heard the gunshot as it was no doubt a distressing and fearful incident.

“Crime involving guns is one our top priorities and we continue to work with great intent to ensure that the use of firearms on the streets of Bury is as low as possible.

“We work tirelessly to prevent such incidents occurring, but are committed in that when they do occur we will do all we can to identify and bring to justice those responsible.”

We take reports of gun crime extremely seriously and encourage people to report anything concerning or suspicious to us online, if able, or via 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.

Information can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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