Innocent dad protecting his sons shot three times in the street by mystery gunman

An innocent dad was shot while trying desperately to shield his sons as he got caught up in a dispute between warring factions.

The 42-year-old dad was blasted three times during the incident in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

He was shot in both legs, and had one leg amputated due to the pain he still suffers.

Jerome Williams, 24, who played a ‘crucial and decisive’ role, has been jailed for 21 years.

He drove the gunman to and away from the scene of the shooting and helped to lure the intended victims there, Manchester Crown Court heard.

It was told he recruited ‘patsy’ Adrian Jeffries to dispose of the car and set it on fire to remove evidence, reports the Manchester Evening News.

But Jeffries, 31, lost control of the Seat Leon while looking for his phone and was involved in a head-on collision.

His lawyer said Jeffries was ‘such a rotten driver’ he actually helped investigators, as they recovered crucial evidence from the car.

Jeffries was jailed for three years and nine months.

The gunman has not been identified.

The court heard that the victim was at home on Monday, February 3, with his two sons, aged 18 and 21, and two of their friends.

He overheard phone calls and believed a fight was being arranged with others.

“He feared there might be some trouble brewing,” Judge Michael Leeming said.

“He was right of course.

“But he wanted to ensure his sons didn’t get in any trouble.

“Your quarrel was not with him.”

At about 7pm, a car arrived on Hollyhouse Drive in Woodley.

The victim’s sons and his friends went towards the car, before a gunman who had been lying in wait appeared from behind them and started firing.

The shooter, who had his face covered, fired at least four shots with three hitting the victim, described as an ‘entirely innocent bystander’, in both legs.

He got back in the car being driven by Williams and fled.

Evidence showed Williams had been in phone contact with one of the intended victims earlier, which prosecutors said showed he lured them to the scene.

After the shooting, Williams recruited his friend and neighbour Jeffries to dispose of the car.

Just before 10pm later that evening, Jeffries, who didn’t have a licence, was driving in Reddish when he was involved in a head on collision.

He fled after the crash, and police later found a can full of petrol and latex gloves in the vehicle.

The exact motive for the shooting remains unclear, but the judge said it appeared to be a dispute between rival groups.

He said it showed a ‘complete disregard for the safety of the public’.

Members of the public were around at the time, including a woman walking her dog.

Alaric Bassano, prosecuting, told how the victim has decided to have his right leg amputated because of the ongoing pain and need for further complex surgery.

“He remains deeply traumatised and angry at being shot,” Judge Leeming said.

As well as the life-changing physical injuries, he also suffered mental turmoil.

He was panicking about who was going to turn up at his door, Mr Bassano said.

“I was so paranoid and my mental health has really been affected by the whole thing,” the victim said in a statement.

Williams had no previous convictions, and his barrister Benjamin Knight said the defendant had no involvement in organised crime or gang activity.

He was described as being a ‘talented footballer’ and an otherwise ‘articulate, pleasant, polite and articulate young man’.

Mr Knight said Williams admits he made a ‘massive mistake’.

“Quite why you became involved in the way you did, only you know the answer,” Judge Leeming told him.

“A man is about to lose his leg. You must share responsibility for that.”

Williams, of Stockport was found guilty after trial of causing grievous bodily harm with intent; possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life; and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Jeffries, who worked at a joinery firm, was described by his barrister Bob Elias as a ‘patsy’.

He was also found guilty after trial of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

But Mr Elias said in reality Jeffries actually ‘assisted’ the police’s investigation as key evidence was recovered after the crash.

“He was such a rotten driver, that he crashed the car within a very short time,” he said.

Mr Elias said Jeffries comes from a respectable family and that he made a ‘dreadful error’.

The judge said he was not sure that Jeffries knew there had been a shooting when he became involved, but it must have been ‘obvious’ to him that ‘serious criminality’ had occured.

Jeffries admitted driving without a licence; failing to stop after an accident; failing to report an accident; careless driving; and driving without insurance.

Following the case, Detective Constable Laura Burgess of GMP’s Stockport District said while it was a ‘great result’ to see the men sent behind bars for their ‘despicable’ actions, the investigation is not over.

“We still have one man outstanding and would like to ask anyone who has any information that can help us bring this man forwards to face the justice he deserves to speak to police.”