Gunman Leslie Garrett shouts 'k***head' as he's jailed over Showcase Cinema rampage

Leslie Garrett
-Credit: (Image: Merseyside Police)

Leslie Garrett shouted "k***head" as he was jailed this afternoon.

The 49-year-old, of Ternhall Road in Fazakerley, raided a newsagents in his flip flops and shot into a protective screen with an AK47 on the evening of January 3 this year. He then went for a drink in the pub before continuing onwards to the Showcase Cinema in Croxteth, where he had worked as a security guard before losing his job three months earlier for "being under the influence of alcohol", and firing further shots outside.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Amandeep Singh had been working at Sangha's off-licence on Lower House Lane in Norris Green on the Wednesday night in question. The store was empty at around 7.30pm, with the shop assistant stood behind the counter and a protective plastic screen when Garrett entered wearing a long green coat with the hood up and with a pair of flip flops on his feet.

READ MORE: Live updates as Leslie Garrett sentenced over Showcase Cinema shooting

READ MORE: Woman's 'legs felt like jelly' when man in flip flops walked into cinema with AK47

David Birrell, prosecuting, described how Mr Singh "noticed that the defendant's left arm was very straight" before he "suddenly" shouted: "Come on. Money". The employee initially "thought it was a joke and smiled", but Garrett "produced and raised" an AK47 which he fired in his direction.

Mr Singh fled into the stock room as the gunman left and drove to the Western Approaches pub in his Ford Focus, where he "ordered a drink and chatted to other customers at the bar". He was then seen leaving the premises on CCTV, with two other men following to him to his car. There, he "appeared to show them the firearm" causing them to "back off".

Garrett then got back into his vehicle and continued onwards to the Showcase Cinema, where he had previously been employed as security but reportedly "lost his job following complaints about his behaviour towards other members of staff". Entering shortly after 8.45pm, again with his hood up, he approached cashier Danielle Mea and guard Philip Smith at the ticket desk.

He then pointed the weapon at the former, but both workers "believed it was a joke". Mr Smith even told him: "Drop the peashooter and don’t point it at her."

But Garrett responded "come see" and gestured for him to follow him into the car park. Cameras then captured the moment that he repeatedly fired the gun outside the cinema.

Upon realising that the gun was live, Mr Smith shouted to Ms Mea: "Get down. Get out." Customers were "contained for their safety whilst police secured the area", with 12 shell casings being recovered from the scene. Garrett meanwhile left to the rear of the pictures and "fired multiple shots into the air" before driving away "at speed, erratically and through a red traffic light".

He continued to a Go Local store, where he "bought two mini bottles of vodka on credit", before remaining in the area of his mum's house on Ternhall Road for roughly an hour. At around 10pm, he moved on to his partner Jennifer Forshaw's address on Malpas Road where he again began firing gunshots.

Four shell casings were subsequently discovered in the front garden of her home. She later told officers that Garrett had fired the gun, which he kept on her property, into the air before leaving for his mother's address after the couple had earlier "drank alcohol and argued".

Shortly after 4.30am, a team of 16 firearms officers, two negotiators and a police dog handler attended Ternhall Road in "ballistically protected" Land Rovers. Garrett's 67-year-old mum Olive Brown opened the door and was escorted from the premises at gunpoint.

The defendant then presented at the entrance wearing a t-shirt and boxer shirts in an "agitated and aggressive" state. When officers pointed their guns towards him, he replied: "F*** off d***head."

Garrett was tasered and fell to the floor, at which he was handcuffed and arrested. He gave no comment to detectives under interview.

Merseyside Police subsequently recovered a Czech-manufactured "AK47-style rifle" dating back to 1964 from the Malpas Road address on January 5. The CZ-model VZ58 gun, which "bore military markings", was described as being "in fair condition given its age" and was successfully tested fired, although only one of the 323 cartridges recovered alongside it was compatible with the weapon.

Garrett has 10 previous convictions for 18 offences, but only a single entry on his criminal record for violence - relating to a charge of assault in 2003. His last brush with the law came in 2021, for a count of drink driving.

Paul Lewis, defending, told the court today that an extended sentence would be "sufficient" for his client rather than a life sentence, and added: "These are serious offences. He was fortunate that there was no fatality.

"Crucially, the discharge of the firearm in Sangha's was away from the shopkeeper and purposefully so. He leaves the Showcase Cinema when dismissed and goes outside before discharging the firearm.

"At Malpas Road, it is not pointed at or directed at any individual. There was no physical injury to any victim.

"At the really crucial moment, Mr Garrett pointed that weapon away from people. There is undoubtedly, with multiple discharges of an automatic weapon in several locations, a high risk of death or severe physical harm.

"His mental health cuts through this like the rings of a tree. It's all over it.

"There must be a difference between somebody who discharges an automatic weapon at a crowd of people and somebody that does it in the air. There must be a difference between someone that discharges a weapon with threats to people directly."

Garrett previously pleaded guilty to eight offences - including possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life, two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, attempted robbery and possession of ammunition without a certificate. Appearing in the dock wearing a grey Nike jumper and with a cross on show around his neck, he was handed 14 years in prison plus an extended licence period of four years.

Sentencing, Judge David Aubrey KC said: "The footage graphically shows your chilling acts. [Mr Singh] believed he was going to be killed and describes his heart beating out of his chest, and that he has never been so scared in his life.

"This was not an isolated offence of endangering the life of another and causing panic and trepidation to others - it was the beginning of what can only be described as a campaign of terror and fear and causing mayhem, during which many lives were potentially put at risk by your actions. It is fortunate there were no fatalities that night.

"You then drove to the Showcase Cinema on the East Lancashire Road. You knew that cinema.

"You used to work there as a security guard, but lost your job after complaints had been made about your conduct to other members of staff. In my judgment, it is no coincidence you went to that location.

"Whilst the court accepts that you have been subject to childhood trauma and have experienced difficulties with your mental health, in my judgment those factors were not the motivation in the commission of these offences. Anger, alcohol and resentment are constant themes, and I am satisfied they were the catalysts for that which you did.

"I am satisfied that you were not seeking to place yourself in a position where trained police officers would have had no alternative but to take drastic and fatal action. You had every opportunity so to do and I am satisfied that, notwithstanding any disorder which I have found, you had no suicidal intent on the night of the offences.

"I am satisfied you knew precisely what you were doing, demanding money from the shop owner whilst holding and discharging a firearm. You appeared to enjoy showing that firearm to customers at the public house.

"You felt powerful and in control that night. I am satisfied that these offences were borne out of anger, alcohol, and resentment.

"You do have previous convictions, but none that aggravate the seriousness of these offences and, save for one offence of common assault in 2003, you have no previous convictions for violence. I do take into account my findings as to your medical condition by way of personal mitigation and the fact that, in the cold light of day, you now regret your actions.

"You are a very unpredictable person. On the night in question, you were behaving irrationally and placing lives at risk.

"I remind myself that a sentence of life imprisonment is a sentence of last resort. l do not consider that a determinate sentence provides sufficient protection to members of the public but, bearing in mind your age and the length of the custodial term you will be obliged or may have to serve, the court stands back from imposing a sentence of life imprisonment and the court will impose an extended sentence."

Garrett gave a thumbs up to his supporters in the public gallery as he was led down the the cells and said: "See you later. It’ll be alright."

He was also heard to shout "k***head" as he left the dock.

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