Gunman who opened fire outside cinema with AK-47 jailed

-Credit: (Image: Merseyside Police)
-Credit: (Image: Merseyside Police)

A man who shot up a cinema complex and a shop with an AK-47 machine gun has been jailed for 14 years.

Leslie Garrett began his rampage around 7.30pm on January 3, by entering an off licence and firing the gun at the counter before heading to the Western Approaches pub in the Norris Green area of Liverpool.

While there he had a drink, chatted to customers and showed two men the assault rifle in the back of his Ford Focus, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

The father-of-one then left for the Showcase Cinema nearby, where he had worked as a security guard for several years before being sacked for drinking on the job.

The 49-year-old, from Ternhall Road, Fazakerley, went inside and pointed the gun at a member of staff before being followed outside by the current security guard where he fired off a round of shots.

The cinema went into lockdown as armed police were scrambled to the scene but Garrett fled in his car at speed.

Police later recovered 12 bullet casings from the scene.

Next, Garrett, who the court heard had earlier that day drunk one and a half bottles of rum, went to his girlfriend’s address and fired another round of shots, leaving the gun under a mattress at the property.

Garrett was arrested hours later when armed police descended on his mother’s house.

The defendant, “agitated and aggressive” was Tasered and taken into custody.

Nobody was injured during any of the incidents.

Police recovered the rifle and found it had been firing live rounds and was a Czech-made AK-47-style military weapon, which had been fired 17 times that night.

Garrett, the court heard, was one of seven siblings, who had witnessed his brother being run over and killed and at aged nine or 10 had witnessed a murder, leading to trauma in his later life.

He claimed he had been paid £300 to look after a bag of items, which he agreed to do, and later found out the bag contained the gun and ammunition.

Garrett, at an earlier hearing, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, attempt robbery and possession of ammunition without a certificate.

Judge David Aubrey KC jailed the defendant for 14 years.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Ryan of Merseyside Police, said: “Although nobody was injured during that evening, the reckless actions of Leslie Garrett obviously caused a great deal of fear in the local community.

“A huge policing plan was put in place and Garrett was located and detained by our officers. The firearm he used, along with a quantity of ammunition, was also recovered, which means it cannot be used to cause further fear or concern in our communities.

“Although Garrett’s intentions are not clear, he admitted the offences and will now spend a considerable amount of time behind bars because of his actions on that night.

“Firearms have no place on the streets of Merseyside. We are committed to removing them from our streets and I would encourage anyone who has information about who is using weapons or where they are being stored to contact us so we can take immediate action.”

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