Man guilty of murdering Elle Edwards outside Merseyside pub on Christmas Eve

6 July 2023, 15:35 | Updated: 6 July 2023, 17:04

Man guilty of murdering Elle Edwards outside Merseyside pub on Christmas Eve
Man guilty of murdering Elle Edwards outside Merseyside pub on Christmas Eve. Picture: LBC / Alamy / Merseyside Police

By Emma Soteriou

A man has been found guilty of murdering beautician Elle Edwards, who was shot at a pub in Wallasey on Christmas Eve.

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Elle Edwards, 26, was shot when Connor Chapman, 23, fired 12 shots into a group of people outside the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey Village, Wirral, Merseyside, shortly before midnight on December 24 last year.

Chapman was convicted of her murder, and seven other counts, following a three-and-a-half week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Co-defendant Thomas Waring, 20, was found guilty of the possession of a prohibited firearm and assisting an offender by helping to burn out the stolen Mercedes used in the shooting.

Ms Edwards' father, Tim, said the conviction meant the family could start going forward.

"It just means he's off the streets, someone else is not going to suffer at the hands of him," he said.

"Unfortunately Elle was his last victim but thankfully she will be the last person he does anything to and he can go fade away."

Read more: 'Wholly innocent' beautician Elle Edwards gunned down with sub-machine gun in 'feud between two rival gangs'

Read more: Elle Edwards heartbroken dad carries her coffin into her funeral after she was shot dead on Christmas Eve

CCTV shows moment of attack on pub which killed Elle Edwards

The trial heard the attack was the culmination of a feud between groups on the Woodchurch and Beechwood estates, on either side of the M53 in Wirral.

The prosecution alleged Chapman was attempting to kill Kieran Salkeld and Jake Duffy - both having been seriously injured in the shooting.

The pair, from the Beechwood estate, had attacked another man, Sam Searson, in the street the day before, the court heard.

Three other men: Harry Loughran, Liam Carr and Nicholas Speed; who were unconnected to the feud, were also injured in the shooting.

Chapman lay in wait outside the pub in a stolen Mercedes for almost three hours before firing the weapon, which the court heard was capable of firing 15 rounds a second, the jury heard.

He said he had not been using the vehicle, which he described as a "pool car" for him and other criminals, on the night of the murder but had given the car key to another man, who he refused to name.

CCTV footage showed the gunman drive away from the Lighthouse in the moments after the shooting and then arrive at Private Drive in Barnston, the home address of co-defendant Waring.

The man, with long hair, was seen in the footage appearing to drop the gun as he walked towards Waring's home. Chapman admitted a charge of handling stolen goods before the trial started and told the jury on December 31 he had travelled with the unnamed man who took the car key when the Mercedes was burnt out in Frodsham, Cheshire.

He denied that Waring had been with him, although cell site evidence showed Waring's phone travelled with the car.

CCTV shows Elle Edwards in pub on night of murder

Senior investigating officer in the case, Detective Superintendent Paul Grounds, described Chapman as a "dangerous and ruthless individual".

"Connor Chapman knew exactly what he was doing when he left his home address on December 24, getting in a stolen car in possession of a Skorpion machine pistol," he said.

"He drove to the Lighthouse pub where he spent a number of hours there before finding a car parking space that gave him a real clear view of who was outside.

"He then left his car with no regard for anybody else, intent on firing that gun at his intended targets, Kieran Salkeld and Jake Duffy, with not a care of what would happen to anybody else who was stood outside of the pub."

Chapman was also found guilty of two counts of attempted murder, two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, as well as possession of a Skorpion sub-machine gun with intent to endanger life and ammunition with intent to endanger life.