Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 13:41 UK

Pc shooting pub raid unravelled

By Clare Purdy
BBC News, Preston

The Hospital Inn, Bamber Bridge
The robbers targeted the pub on New Year's Eve 2007

Police called to a robbery at a Lancashire pub on New Year's Eve 2007 did not realise the danger they were in.

Within minutes of the panicked 999 call by the sous chef at the Hospital Inn, Bamber Bridge, new dog handler Pc Katie Johnson had been shot in the legs.

Later the gunman, Wayne McDonald, was in the back of a police van, telling the arresting officer: "I've just shot one of your women".

'Inside man'

His accomplice, David Tyrell, was caught after spending 12 hours hiding in a hole, close to the pub.

As the investigation unfolded it was clear the raid was far from random - a kitchen worker at the secluded pub was revealed as the "inside man" on the raid.

At Preston Crown Court, McDonald, 47, of no fixed address, has been convicted of wounding PC Katie Johnson, robbery and firearms offences.

Pc Katie Johnson and Chaos
Pc Johnson was hit by 12 pellets, but Chaos was uninjured

Tyrell, 39, of Lions Drive in Swinton, Manchester, admitted robbery and firearms offences, and has been convicted of wounding Pc Johnson with intent to resist arrest.

The raid's organiser, Rudolph Mancini, 55, of Division Lane, Blackpool, and Peter Plaskowski, 28, of Dean Street, Bamber Bridge, who worked at the pub have both been convicted of robbery.

On the morning of the raid, chef Tony Gornall, who lived at the pub with his partner Alison Morse, the manager, set up the kitchen and let in the two cleaners before heading back upstairs.

Det Supt Neil Hunter, of Lancashire police, said: "The next thing, the two women were confronted by a huge man with a handgun and aggressively manhandled.

"It was an experience that chilled them both to the bone."

Tied up

Mr Gornall had heard the commotion and was on the phone to police when the robbers kicked down the door to the living quarters.

The cleaners had been dragged upstairs by their hair.

Ms Morse was hauled from under the bed, where she had hidden in fear, and all four were forced to lie on the floor and tied up.

Mr Gornall was "pistol-whipped" before McDonald and Tyrell took the previous day's takings.

Wayne McDonald (left) and David Tyrell
Wayne McDonald and David Tyrell lost the keys for the getaway car

Det Supt Hunter said: "When described, McDonald was said to be so big he filled the door frame.

"He told the four of them that if anyone notified the police, or the robbers found there was any more money, they would come back and kill them."

Dog handlers Pc Katie Johnson and Ian Tinsley were outside, but police were still unaware that the men inside the pub were armed.

Pc Johnson got out of the van, eager to gain experience on her first job as a handler with her dog, Chaos.

Det Insp Hunter said: "McDonald burst out of the front doors of the pub with a sawn-off shotgun. Katie Johnson told him to stay where he was, but he blasted her at close range.

"He held the gun at shoulder height and hit her in the thigh. It was good luck rather than good management that she was not killed."

McDonald went back into the pub and came back out with Tyrell, but the pair could not find the keys to the getaway car and ran off in opposite directions.

A wide cordon was set up around the area and McDonald was arrested by a police officer nearby.

Later that night, police officers manning the cordon noticed a man on the railway line near the pub.

He told them he had been out drinking, but officers quickly discovered it was Tyrell, who had buried himself in a hole covered by tarpaulin for 12 hours to try to evade arrest.

Peter Plaskowski (left) and Rudolph Mancini
Plaskowski initially denied knowing his neighbour Mancini

Mobile phone records led officers to Rudolph Mancini, to whom McDonald had spoken after the raid.

Peter Plaskowski, who had worked at the Hospital Inn kitchen for two years, was a neighbour of Mancini, and although Plaskowski initially denied knowing him, it became clear that was a lie.

He had passed on information about the pub routine, including the fact that the back door was usually left open in the morning.

Pellets in leg

Det Supt Hunter said: "Alison and Tony were so upset that he was involved. They were friends and they found it very hard to understand."

Pc Kate Johnson returned to work two months after the shooting, but has not patrolled alone since the robbery. Some of the pellets remain in her leg.

Det Supt Hunter said: "Katie is determined to maintain her role, but it pragmatic enough to realise she will do it slowly and in her own time.

"She is still coming to terms with the effects of that day."

Pc Johnson's dog Chaos was uninjured and has since retired from police work. Mr Gornall and Ms Morse continue to run the Hospital Inn, but no longer live there.



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