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Man finds loaded gun after thugs threaten to shoot him

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The Russian Baikal pistol found to bear the DNA of Stanley, 33, of Kingsland Road, Norris Green.

A man found a loaded gun at the bottom of his garden after two thugs threatened to shoot him.

The homeowner disturbed the masked men lurking outside his house in Childwall. They issued the chilling threat before fleeing on a motorbike.

When he searched around his property, the victim spotted a holdall in woodland backing onto his address. It contained a Russian semi-automatic pistol – bearing the DNA of fugitive crack dealer Gary Stanley.

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The ECHO has previously reported how Stanley dived off a boat into a canal in a futile attempt to swim away from police when caught by officers in June 2020. He was wanted at the time for crimes including threatening to skin his ex-girlfriend alive and biting her.

Stanley, of Kingsland Road, Norris Green, was jailed for five years that summer. But he was back in the dock at Liverpool Crown Court in connection with the discovery of the firearm on February 14, 2020.

Katy Appleton, prosecuting, said the homeowner called police at around 7.20pm to report the incident at his property in Lanfranc Close. Despite the threat to shoot him, he didn’t see any weapon until after the pair had sped off on a motorbike towards the old Liverpool Loop Line.

Police arrived and found the gun and ammunition in the bag. Officers searched for CCTV footage, but only found one clip, which showed two unidentified people walking near the rear of the property.

The court heard the gun was a Baikal self-loading Makarov model pistol, with a magazine containing four rounds of 9mm PAK ammunition. It was originally designed to fire blanks, but had been modified into a lethal weapon.

Judge Gary Woodhall noted a “thread” had been cut in the end of the barrel, so a “silencer” could be fitted to the gun. He said the ammunition was also converted blank rounds.

Forensic tests would later reveal Stanley’s DNA on multiple locations, including inside the barrel. But he wasn’t located until June 17 that year, when he jumped off a boat into the Leeds and Liverpool canal at Burscough, only to be fished out by police.

The Russian Baikal pistol found to bear the DNA of Stanley, 33, of Kingsland Road, Norris Green.

When interviewed by police and told he was forensically linked to the holdall, Stanley said he had reported his gym bag stolen from Momentum Gym in London Road three days beforehand. He told officers he had signed up at the gym under a false name because he was on the run.

Stanley said the bag contained his gym clothes, a new tracksuit and cash. Ms Appleton said: “He said he believed it was likely stolen due to it stinking of weed.”

Ms Appleton said Stanley was shown a photo of the gun and said he had never seen it before. But he then confessed he used to be in a gang and had seen firearms in the past.

Stanley claimed his DNA could be on the gun via secondary transfer because it was his gym bag. However, he later admitted possessing a prohibited firearm and possessing ammunition without a certificate.

He has 15 previous convictions for 49 offences, including possession of explosives, burglary and aggravated burglary in 2005, when he was just 16. Stanley told the court the explosives were fireworks tied together, which police found at his house.

Stanley was jailed for six years and one month in 2014 for plots involving a gang who burgled rival drug dealers to steal and flog their cannabis. The court heard he was not due to be released from his current five-year sentence until January 2023.

Lloyd Morgan, defending, accepted his client would now receive at least the mandatory minimum sentence of five years for possessing a prohibited firearm. However, Stanley complained from the dock that the gun wasn’t loaded.

Mr Morgan told the court that an expert found “there was a magazine with rounds in it – the weapon did not have a round in the breech”. Judge Woodhall said: “It was a weapon loaded up with live ammunition, but not in the breech of the chamber.”

The loaded magazine of the Russian Baikal pistol found to bear the DNA of Stanley, 33, of Kingsland Road, Norris Green.
The loaded magazine of the Russian Baikal pistol found to bear the DNA of Stanley, 33, of Kingsland Road, Norris Green.

Mr Morgan said while the gun was “viable”, the expert said it wasn’t “functioning” properly, because during testing it had jammed. He asked the judge to take into account the gun’s “ineffectiveness”.

The barrister said the threatened householder appeared to be “quite brave and not especially frightened” and because the gun wasn’t produced, there wasn’t an “imminent risk” of harm.

Mr Morgan said while in prison Stanley had been taking educational courses, was working and “making progress”. The barrister said: “He wants to put this offending behind him.”

Judge Woodhall said a report raised the possibility the gun had been used in a previous shooting, but there was insufficient detail for him to make a conclusive determination on this point. However, he told Stanley: “I’m satisfied you undoubtedly were at least reckless as to whether the weapon would be used for a criminal purpose”.

Jailing him for six years, Judge Woodhall said this sentence would run concurrently to his existing sentence, rather than starting when it ended. Stanley replied: “Nice that, thank you very much sir.”

(Proceeding)

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