Alleyway cordoned off in shadow of fatal shooting a 'hotspot' for crime

Police on Grace Road in Orrell Park this afternoon
-Credit: (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Residents living close to a police cordon erected in connection with a fatal shooting said a local cycling loop is plagued with crime and anti-social behaviour.

Merseyside Police remain at Grace Road and the Liver Industrial Estate this afternoon following the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Ellis Cox on Sunday, June 24. Police were originally called to the industrial estate, close to Taskers, just after 11.10pm on Sunday, June 23 following a report from North West Ambulance Service paramedics who were treating Mr Cox.

Mr Cox, who had been shot, died of his injuries a short time later in hospital. Residents on Grace Road, found just off Walton Vale, yesterday confirmed to the ECHO Mr Cox lived on the street with his family. One neighbour described the teenager as "a lovely lad, a really good kid".

READ MORE: Man dies after being shot near Taskers as murder investigation launched

READ MORE: Police cordon off 'the Ralla' after man shot dead

She added: "He was dead polite and friendly - always said hello and smiled. And he was hardworking. You'd see him going out to work early every morning." Residents in the Orrell Park area woke for a second morning to find the alleyway that connects their street with the Liverpool Loop Line, known locally as "The Ralla", remained cordoned off by Merseyside Police.

The force has yet to confirm what the connection between the two cordons is. The neighbour added: "There are loads of gangs who hang out down that path on their bikes. But he wasn't like that - he was the last person I'd have thought of this happening to. It's just awful, really scary."

For many on the residential streets off Walton Vale, the first they heard of a potential crime scene was when police arrived at around 6am on Monday and cordoned off the cycling path. A man who lives on a neighbouring road told the ECHO: "The police were there early. I woke up and looked out the window and thought, what's gone on there then?

"I've seen the news and heard it was a shooting. The lad only lived around the corner. There's a lot of motorbikes shooting up that road. There's a lot of action. Young lads on their bikes and all that sort of stuff. They don't really cause trouble - they're just always down there.

"I walk the dog down there and never have any trouble. I take the dog down the path towards Taskers and then loop around. It's only about 10 minutes down the path." However, another man, who did not want to be named, told the ECHO yesterday: "There's a lot of violence there. You see loads of stolen, burnt bikes there all the time.."

Residents today questioned how and why their community was connected to the young man's shooting. One woman told the ECHO: "It's horrible. It's so sad when the family lives close to where the police are. I didn't hear anything on Sunday night but saw the police the morning after. His family are in my prayers."

A police cordon remained in place today at the industrial estate while crime scene investigators carried out forensic examinations. The police cordon had been dropped to allow several businesses on the estate to open, after many were forced to close yesterday for the whole day.

One woman who travelled from Wigan to visit Taskers on the estate, only to find it closed, said: "Now I know why it’s closed off, I wouldn’t dream of complaining. What a terrible thing to have happened. It’s so sad to hear, I’m praying for the lad’s family."

Other people in the area feared the prospects of a gunman on the loose. A young mum living by the industrial estate yesterday said: "I've told my daughter to stay inside. It's really scared me. It could be anybody."

Merseyside Police officers remain in both areas carrying out house-to-house and CCTV enquiries. A spokesperson for the force said high visibility patrols have been stepped up in the area to provide reassurance and officers will be available to speak to anyone who may have concerns.

A police scene at the Liver Industrial Estate, in Long Lane, Aintree today
A police scene at the Liver Industrial Estate, in Long Lane, Aintree today -Credit:Liverpool Echo

Merseyside Police's head of the investigation Mark Baker said: "This was an appalling and tragic incident in which a young man has lost his life, and our thoughts first and foremost are with his family, who are trying to come to terms with his loss.

"I would appeal to anyone who may have seen him to come forward as their information could be vital. Whilst this happened on an industrial estate, there are residential homes nearby and I would urge anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area, or who heard anything, to come forward so we can give his family answers and bring his killer or killers to justice.

"I would appeal to any motorists who may have captured footage on their dashcam to come forward even if it appears to be innocuous. It could prove vital to our efforts to deliver justice for this young man and his family. It is essential that people with information, no matter how small, to please contact us as it might be vital to the investigation.

"Gun violence has taken too many young lives here in Merseyside. While the last 12 months saw the lowest number of firearms discharges in more than two decades, our efforts to take weapons off the streets and put those thoughtless enough to use them in jail will never stop.

"Every day our officers are carrying out warrants, open land searches and stop and searches to remove guns and other weapons from our streets. We target all available resources in the right areas to remove weapons and those who use them and work daily alongside our partners and in communities affected by gun crime.

"Incidents such as this are a tragic reminder of why we must continue with that work – gun crime can tear families apart and ruin many more lives than the victim alone. If you have any information at all on this incident, please call 101, DM @MerPolCC or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 quoting reference 1121 of 23 June. Always call 999 if a crime is in progress."

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