The wannabe gangster-turned-killer addicted to making money

Jordan Rance (left) has been jailed for life for the murder of Paul Marsh (right)
Jordan Rance (left) has been jailed for life for the murder of Paul Marsh (right) -Credit:Greater Manchester Police

Posing with a black-handled knife, with a Louis Vuitton hat covering half of his face and a carrier bag of crack cocaine at his side, a 16-year-old was preparing himself.

Just two days later he would brutally plunge a large blade into a beloved dad.

Now 17, Jordan Rance, who can be named after the M.E.N. challenged a court order restricting his identity from being published, is facing life imprisonment for murder.

READ MORE: The frightening selfie of a teenager who killed a beloved dad after a 'minor disagreement'

At fifteen Rance was drawn into the murky world of drugs.

Fascinated by and addicted to making money, he began dealing cannabis by the age of 16. “I needed money, I asked them what was the easiest way to make money,” he said.

Given a SIM card and a bag of weed by those further up the chain, he would be sent to various addresses to fulfil the orders. But his greed grew, and he began dealing the more expensive crack cocaine and heroin.

With in depth knowledge of prices per ‘bag’ or ‘ball’, Rance insinuated that he was ‘more of a runner’ than a drug dealer.

“I don’t suggest you are Pablo Escobar, you handed over drugs for money. You knew how the operation works,” prosecutor Michael Hayton KC quizzed.

“I needed money. I got addicted to making money,” he stated.

One of the first drops of crack cocaine was to a flat on Samuel Street on November 3.

It was just two weeks before the attack, and it was where he first met 49-year-old Paul Marsh.

He brought two friends with him. Mr Marsh was there taking drugs, alongside the flat owner, his girlfriend and his brother, Rance claimed.

Whilst there, Rance and Mr Marsh came to blows. Within minutes they were fighting, both throwing punches at each other.

Mr Marsh ended up on top of Rance before he was pulled away. The pair seemingly resolved their differences, shaking hands to amend things.

But all was not as it seemed.

On November 13, Rance went back to the flat on Samuel Street, with another order of crack cocaine.

After agreeing the fee with the customer, it was there he took the menacing picture, holding up a knife with its large dagger-like blade.

“What on Earth are you doing?” his barrister, Benjamin Myers KC asked him.

“There was a knife and I was just taking a picture and sending it to my mate.”

“Why did you take the picture?”

Jordan Rance posing with a knife days before Paul Marsh's murder
Jordan Rance

“Because I liked the look of the knife,” Rance uttered.

Prosecutors would go on to suggest that this was part of Rance’s ‘drug dealer kit’. It was also suggested he was arming himself, readying himself for further issues with Mr Marsh.

But Mr Marsh was not there.

Days later, Rance got a call from his bosses to go back to Samuel Street with more drugs. He took with him £300 worth of crack cocaine and heroin.

Mr Marsh was there, taking drugs alongside the flat owner, his girlfriend and others.

Rance immediately took the cash from the flat owner before sitting down after his mate joined him later for a smoke. He stayed there for a number of hours, smoking weed and playing on his phone.

Mr Marsh then began tapping on his knee and asking what he was looking at. Dubbed a ‘wind-up merchant’ by friends, it appeared that Mr Marsh rubbed up the youngster the wrong way.

"What the f*** are you looking at?"

He was told to ‘leave it’ by other revellers. Rance claimed he was staring at him.

“What the f*** are you looking at?” Rance barked. “Don’t speak to me like that,” Mr Marsh replied.

Rance then stood up and put his jacket on, squaring up to Mr Marsh. The room was tense, with both men being told to sit down.

A scuffle broke out. The flat owner tried to get himself between Mr Marsh and Rance.

Moments later Rance pulled out a huge knife before slashing it towards the 49-year-old.

Jordan Rance posing with a knife days before Paul Marsh's murder -Credit:Greater Manchester Police
Jordan Rance posing with a knife days before Paul Marsh's murder -Credit:Greater Manchester Police

He then struck him to the shoulder, severing a major artery.

He told jurors he thought he was going to be ‘seriously hurt’ by Mr Marsh.

“I picked up the knife, it wasn’t intended to harm, I was just trying to keep him away from me. I was waving the knife to try and keep him away. I didn’t feel the knife, I just saw blood,” he said.

Rance dropped the knife immediately, and ran out of the flat with his friend. In his wake, Mr Marsh lay in a pool of his own blood, as his horrified friends looked on.

The pair ran to B&M on Tyldesley Road, before getting a taxi home.

It was there at home he sent a chilling voice note to a friend, boasting of what had happened.

“Was just chilling at [his] house, some crackhead started chatting s**t, tried punching me yeah so I just slicked him rapid.”

He would later claim to jurors that he meant that he ‘punched’ Mr Marsh, denying that he was admitting to stabbing him. After sending the voice note, Rance then turned his phone off.

The teen was arrested days later, and created an entirely false narrative where he claimed Mr Marsh had stabbed himself.

"I was going to tell the truth but I didn’t know how to"

It wasn’t until the first day of his trial in March this year, that he changed his defence, instead suggesting that he grabbed the knife from a TV stand in self defence. He denied bringing the knife to the scene.

Asked why he lied to the police, Rance told a court: “I thought if I had the knife in my hand I would automatically be remanded in custody and found guilty.”

In cross examination, Mr Hayton said: “I’m going to suggest you didn’t just lie to the police, you gave a very detailed account that was not successful.”

“Yes - I was scared and didn’t know what else to say. I was going to tell the truth but I didn’t know how to,” Rance stated.

It would later become clear that this was not the first time the youngster had run-ins with the law.

In April 2021, one of his mates was stopped by a shopkeeper. Using a baseball bat, Rance battered them. He was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm.

Jordan Rance
Paul Marsh -Credit:GMP

Then in February last year, whilst out with a group in Bolton town centre, they ran into trouble with another group outside the town hall.

His group made nasty remarks about the other group being in the ‘goth community’.

There was a melee, during which he brandished a large knife and attempted to slash at the opposition. In harrowing CCTV footage he could be seen kicking at the head of one boy as he lay curled up on the ground in a foetal position.

Fortunately both boys sustained minor injuries.

He was convicted of attempted wounding, possession of a knife and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

At a packed out sentencing hearing, members of Mr Marsh’s family and Rance’s family listened in silence as a victim impact statement, written by Mr Marsh’s mum, was read out.

In it, she admitted that her son was ‘no angel’, and that he was ‘a character loved by many, endured by others’.

“I won’t paint him as something he wasn’t because he is no longer with us. But I stand by the fact that no one has the right to take his life,” Carol Ann Smith penned.

“The person who stabbed my son made a conscious decision to do so. There are no winners in this.”

She also commented on the ‘pandemic called knife crime’.

“How many lives are going to be lost before the youth of today understand the consequences of using and carrying a knife?” she urged. Also showing empathy towards Rance’s family, she said that they too had to suffer through what happened and live with the ’devastating’ fall out.

Minshull Street Crown Court heard that Rance, however, showed ‘little victim empathy’ and ‘little remorse’.

“There was no reason for you to be in the flat"

A judge said he was a young man who ‘understood’ the ‘criminal lifestyle’ he had grown accustomed to.

“You stabbed him over a minor disagreement as his friends looked on in horror as his life drained out of him,” Judge Tina Landale said.

“There was no reason for you to be in the flat - you had sold the drugs, and decided to stay, playing games on your phone and smoking cannabis.

“He [Mr Marsh] was no real threat to you.”

Rance, of Platt Hill Avenue, Bolton, was detained for life at His Majesty’s Pleasure, similar to that of a life term of imprisonment. He must serve at least 21 years in detention before being considered for release by the Parole Board.

The wannabe gangster, who admitted that he got into drug dealing because of his ‘addiction’ to making money, accepted knowing it would be dangerous, and so was armed with a fearsome weapon from his first meeting with Mr Marsh.

Now, after committing the most serious offence on the criminal calendar, he serves a stark reminder of the consequences of knife crime which continuously permeate communities throughout the country.