November 30, 2020

Murder trial hears gun gang rammed into moped then told teens get in boys – Liverpool Echo

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/murder-trial-told-gun-gang-19305619

An alleged kidnap victim told a murder trial he was chased by a stolen Mercedes before being ordered to get inside by a gun-wielding gang.

The teenager said the car, later driven to the scene of a fatal shooting, crashed into a moped his friend was riding seconds after he had jumped from the back.

He claimed he eventually climbed into the vehicle after spotting a gun on the knees of a passenger and being told to “get in the car”.

The four men who were inside are accused of the murder of Stephen Maguire, who was struck by two bullets at his Southport home on March 16 of this year.

Karl Corson, Jack Higgins, Ryan Smith and Patrick Moogan deny that allegation as well as claims they kidnapped two teenagers to lead them to the 27-year-old’s address.

One of those teenagers, neither of whom can be identified by the ECHO for legal reasons, today appeared as the first witness in the Liverpool Crown Court trial.

During an interview he recorded with Merseyside Police in April, played to the jury, he detailed his version of events from that night.

He said he had been riding on a moped with his friend in the Birkdale area when they were chased by a black Mercedes at around 11pm.

He said he jumped from the back moments before hearing what he believed to be the car crashing into the moped his friend was still on.

Southport shooting victim Stephen Maguire
(Image: Liverpool Echo)

Minutes later, the witness said, he re-united with that friend in a nearby house before leaving on foot.

The Mercedes was “lurking” nearby and those inside spotted them, he said.

When it pulled up alongside them, he recalled one passenger said: “You stopped running now?”

He added the man in the front passenger seat then told them: “Get in the car boys.”

The witness said that male was wearing gloves and had a gun on his knees, describing it as: “Black, it was like brand new, shiny, just from the glance of it, it didn’t seem to have any scratches or anything like that. It looked brand new.”

Inside the vehicle, the witness claimed one of the men said to the teens: “You know where our orange bike is.”

The name Stephen Maguire came into the minds of him and his friend, he said, and they feared they were going to be shot if they did not co-operate – though he later denied either directed the car to Mr Maguire’s Guildford Road home.

Police at the scene on Guildford Road
(Image: Liverpool Echo)

Once there, he recalled three of the men leaving the Mercedes, hearing the sound of a window smashing and seeing the men return with motorbikes that included an orange KTM that would not start.

The men left the scene in the Mercedes and ordered the two teens to buy petrol from a Texaco garage before returning them to the site of the alleged kidnapping, the witness said.

During cross examination from three defence barristers the witness was questioned over whether he and his friend had actually entered the Mercedes willingly and whether he had really seen a gun in that vehicle.

He accepted he sold “weed” but said he did not do this for Mr Maguire, who he claimed also “sold weed”.

The teen denied he and his friend provided targets for theft to the men in the car when asked by John Harrison, QC, defending Corson.

He insisted he did not know the men in the vehicle and said phone calls to his friend’s mobile phone from a device attributed to Smith took place while he and his friend were separated after having been chased by the Mercedes.

Police Scientific Support on Guildford Road.

When Michael Hayton, QC, defending Smith, questioned the witness over whether he really saw a gun that night, he responded: “If there was no gun in the car how was Stephen shot? Answer my question… it’s common sense.”

After further questioning, he added: “There was a gun in that car as I have told you numerous times… there was a gun in the vehicle… you are starting to irritate me here.”

When asked what he knew about his friend’s relationship with Mr Maguire, the teen told Nigel Power, QC, defending Higgins: “They were friends and had recently fell out.”

He believed this was “something to do with drugs”.

When asked to explain why the witness did not initially give his full version of events to police, he said: “We opened up because we opened up. It was getting too much for me and [his friend].”

Asked for clarification on whether he accepted he provided a more detailed account once he feared arrest, the witness responded: “I’m accepting yeah… yeah I thought we were going to be arrested and that’s why we opened up to the police.”

Mr Power then suggested the witness did not see a gun in the Mercedes that night.

The teenager replied: “You have asked me this about 12 times now.

“I have told you every time… I saw a gun in the vehicle.”

*Moogan, 35, of Willow Way, Croxteth; Corson, 28, of Columbine Close, Melling; Higgins, 22, of Sedgemoor Road, Norris Green; and Smith, 21, of Colquitt Street, Liverpool city centre each deny charges of murder, two counts of kidnap, robbery, possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition without a certificate.

Proceeding