GANG members connected with a series of shootings in Bolton, Farnworth and Little Hulton have been sentenced to more than 107 years behind bars.

A gun possessed by two affiliated gangs brought terror to the streets over a six-day period in October 2015 as part of a series of revenge attacks.

At Manchester Crown Court, Judge Suzanne Goddard QC, stated: “It is clear that these offences blighted the streets of Salford and surrounding areas including Little Hulton. That must have been terrifying for local inhabitants.”

At the start of their trial Anthony Smith, aged 24, of Cannon Street, Bolton, Kane Morrison, aged, 23, of no fixed address, Harry Allen, aged 29, of no fixed address and Patrick McCann, aged 32, of Baron Fold Close, Little Hulton, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Marc Murray, aged, 32, of no fixed address and John Kennedy, aged 44, of Dunedin Drive, Salford, denied the offence but were convicted following the trial earlier this year.

Murray, head of the Salford gang which owned the handgun, was sentenced to an extended sentence for public protection of 25 years.

The Bolton News:

Murray holding guns

Judge Goddard told him: “You, at no stage, have shown any remorse.”

His “sidekick”, Kennedy was jailed for 17 years and the leader of the Farnworth gang, McCann, was sentenced to 17 years and two months.

A jail term of 17 years was handed to Morrison whilst Allen received 16 years and 11 months and Smith was sentenced to 14 years and three months.

All defendants except Smith will also be subject to a serious crime prevention order for a period of five years after their release from prison.

The gun used in the shootings has never been recovered but the court heard how it had been owned and used by a Salford gang, headed by Murray and Kennedy and then loaned to McCann’s Farnworth gang in order to exact revenge against a Little Hulton group, with whom they were involved in a bitter feud.

The first shooting on October 5 came about after Murray, serving a prison sentence, learnt that his former partner Charlene Budgeon had begun a relationship with James Dixon. Furious, he began planning his revenge.

Two men on a scooter confronted Darren Williams outside his home in Coniston Avenue, Little Hulton and demanded to know where “Dicko” was before shooting him in the leg, abdomen and arm.

“One bullet wasn’t recovered. It still sits in Mr Williams’ abdomen as it was deemed too risky to operate and remove it,” said Andrew Smith, prosecuting.

“It was a brutal way of sending a message from Mr Murray to Mr Dixon and Charlene Budgeon.”

The court heard that there had been a lengthy feud between the Farnworth gang and members of a Little Hulton gang, which included the Blood and Holland families.

Connor Holland, Dean Holland and Jane Blood have all been convicted of conspiracies directed against members of the Farnworth gang, which includes McCann and Morrison.

On October 9, the Holland clan reacted violently to a motorbike and cannabis being stolen from Connor Holland and, blaming Kane Morrison, fired shots through the window his home in Mossbrook Drive, Little Hulton. Winston Ricketts, the partner of Morrison’s mother, was injured.

The Farnworth gang knew Murray had a firearm and asked to borrow it.

“McCann and Morrison knew that Murray was the person to go to when they wanted access to a firearm,” said Mr Smith.

The gun was handed over by Murray and his “sidekick” Kennedy to the McCann group at Boggart Hole Clough, Blackley, on October 10.

Murray and McCann even recorded the meeting in a photograph found on Murray’s phone.

The weapon was taken to Stonechurch flats at Cannon Street, Bolton, where Anthony Smith and John McAtee lived and the weapon was to be stored.

But the gun accidently went off, shooting John McAtee and the gang abandoned him, bleeding, on the pavement.

“Their behaviour displayed a ruthlessness that is as chilling as it is disgraceful,” said Mr Smith.

Later that night the gun was used to fire at a house in Worsley Road, Farnworth, the home of Connor Holland’s father, Shaun Holland, but no one was injured.

Morrison admits being on the motorbike and the prosecution claim Allen was also riding it.

Other members of the gang then collected the weapon from Century Lodge, Farnworth, and it was used again at 11.20pm to carry out another shooting at Connor Holland’s home in Gorse Avenue, Little Hulton.

In court Kennedy was also sentenced after admitting illegally possessing a SIM card in prison, possessing cocaine and possessing amphetamine with intent to supply.

Morrison also pleaded guilty to possessing a phone and a SIM card in prison and Allen admitted possessing a phone in prison and making malicious calls.

Speaking in Murray’s defence, Brian Williams said: “He is intelligent enough to know that, by these actions, he has wasted a large part of his life.”

David Toal, for Kennedy, stated that his client was not the owner of the handgun and had no pattern of violent behaviour, while Saul Brodie, for McCann, stressed that he had nothing to do with the October 5 attack and was not responsible for any of the shootings themselves.

Richard English, for Morrison described him as “vulnerable and easily influenced by others.” His own parents had been shot when he was a child.

"The shooting on October 9 at his home tipped him over the edge and, in an action he will regret for a long time, felt he had to do something," said Mr English.

Huw Edwards, for Allen, stressed that no injuries were caused in the shootings Allen is connected with and there is no knowledge of him previously being involved in organised crime. John Townsend, for Smith, added that his client, who is autistic, is “not an experienced or hardened criminal” and his role in the offence was very limited.

Judge Goddard praised the police for their work on the case.

“The police officers involved in this investigation carried out meticulous work and are to be commended at all levels,” she said.