'Man's just took the whole Amazon van, you know' - brutal beating video led police to thieves

Two thieves stole an Amazon delivery van full of parcels a week before Christmas then filmed themselves boasting: "Man's just took the whole Amazon van, you know".

Key evidence which came to light as part of investigations into a brutal beating thought to have played a part in events which led to the murder of innocent Elle Edwards helped lead police to the pair. Jake Duffy, of Hornby Road, Walton, and William Duggan, of Broadfield Avenue, Beechwood, and an unknown male were spotted on Pennystone Close in Moreton on December 16 2022, frantically throwing parcels out of the back of an Amazon van.

The pair had stolen the parked van, which contained £3,793.50 worth of items, from Franklin Road that day, and were packing its contents into a grey Ford Kuga, which had itself been stolen from a house in Liverpool on December 6.

The car was found torched and stripped of its number plates on Boundary Road, Birkenhead, on December 19 2022. A police investigation of the GPS revealed the car had been driving around the Liverpool and Wirral areas between December 6 and December 19. On December 16 at 1.30pm, just before the theft of the Amazon van, the car was parked at a café in Wirral, and CCTV footage taken from the shop showed three men - two of whom were identified as Duggan and Duffy.

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The car was then driven to the site of the theft on Franklin Road, and on to Pennystone Close where the men, who had been wearing "masks or hoods" at the time, were seen. The car was also found to have been parked close to Duggan's home on Broadfield Avenue, Beechwood, and Duffy's former address on Arley Close.

But the most damning piece of evidence was found on December 23 when Duffy and another man, Kieran Salkeld, were caught on a doorbell camera brutally beating a man named Sam Searson. At the scene of the attack on Highfield Road, Rock Ferry, police found an iPhone which Duffy had dropped, and examined its contents.

Prosecutor Daniel Bramhall, at Liverpool Crown Court today, July 5, said: "On the device police discovered a short clip of a male driving while taking a video of himself on the phone. The male films a large van driving behind him in convoy. Audio can be heard of that male with a Liverpool accent saying 'man's just took the whole Amazon van, you know'. This being taken shortly after the Amazon van had been stolen.

"The male in the video appears to be wearing a hooded fur coat similar to the coat worn by Duffy."

During Connor Chapman's trial for the Christmas Eve murder of Elle Edwards, it was suggested that the Rock ferry assault may have been the final trigger for the attempt to kill Duffy and Salkeld, alongside whom Duffy was jailed for the incident in February 2023.

Duggan's home was searched by police on January 5 2023, and a number of items from the Amazon van were found, including a bottle of whisky, cleanser, multivitamins and a battery pack. At Duffy's home, an e-cigarette kit and an Amazon firestick were found.

Both men pleaded guilty to theft, with Duffy pleading guilty to a further charge of handling a stolen motor vehicle.

Daniel Travers, defending Duffy, who has two convictions for three past offences including the assault, said: "Duffy was engaged in relatively serious criminality, and also he had been made the subject of a gang order. He was released from a prison sentence on January 4 2024.

"Duffy was disappointed that these proceedings came at the end of his sentence, at least the custodial part of it. Even for someone who doesn't engage with probation, the yo-yo effect of going into custody, out of custody and back in is understandable. Duffy has done everything beyond anyone's expectations to comply with his stringent conditions and gang order. He has thus far been a success story. He literally couldn't have done any more to prove that he wanted to break free of the life he was living. I invite the court to giver him the opportunity to prove himself."

David Birrell, defending Duggan, who has five convictions for eight past offences, said: "He does have convictions, but four of these are for simple possession of cannabis. You may feel this is out of character. He hasn't reoffended since this. Frankly he's embarrassed to find himself in this position. He's remorseful. He seems to have impressed the probation officer who says he engaged well and has good interpersonal skills. He's still a young man, just 24, and it may be that immaturity has played a part in this offending."

Jake Duffy, 24, of HMP Walton, was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He was ordered to complete 25 rehabilitation days and pay £250 costs.

William Duggan, 24, of Broadfield Avenue, Beechwood, was sentenced to eight months, suspended for 18 months, and 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to complete 25 rehabilitation days and pay £250 costs, and to take part in a thinking skills programme.

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