Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 18:16 UK

Gangsters guilty of wake murder

Colin Joyce and Lee Amos
Colin Joyce and Lee Amos were both convicted of murder

The leaders of a gang said to be responsible for a huge increase in violence on the streets of Manchester have been found guilty of murder.

Colin Joyce, 29, and Lee Amos, 33, were convicted of murdering a mourner at the funeral of a man Joyce had "executed".

Tyrone Gilbert, 23, was shot dead six weeks after his friend Ucal Chin was gunned down in Longsight, Manchester.

Eleven men were on trial at Liverpool Crown Court for a catalogue of gang-related crimes, including murder.

Joyce led the Gooch Gang in dealing drugs, torturing street dealers who crossed them and targeting rivals, culminating in the murders of Mr Chin, 24, and Mr Gilbert, 23.

Make no mistake, the men who led this gang - in particular Joyce and Amos - are among the most dangerous men in Manchester
Det Ch Insp Stephen Eckersley, GMP

The court heard gang warfare erupted in the city in 2007 after Joyce and Amos were released on licence for firearms offences.

They were recalled to prison for breaking their licences towards the end of that year, which coincided with a dramatic reduction in violent crime in the city.

Since 2007 there has been a 92% reduction in gang-related shootings in the city and no gang-related murder for 12 months, according to Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith travelled to Manchester to herald the success last year, but the event was cancelled at the last minute over fears it could prejudice the trial.

Ucal Chin (left) and Tyrone Gilbert
Tyrone Gilbert (right) was shot at the wake of his friend, Ucal Chin

The eleven gangsters on trial were all members of either Gooch or the Old Trafford Cripz, a gang affiliated to them.

Both murder victims had links to Longsight Crew, rivals of Moss Side-based Gooch Gang, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Speaking on Monday, senior investigating officer Det Ch Insp Stephen Eckersley said he was "absolutely delighted" the gang were off the streets.

The detective said officers had scratched the surface of the two murders to uncover a "much wider and well-organised conspiracy to possess guns and sell drugs".

"This is by far the biggest trial of gang members Greater Manchester Police has ever run and the implications of today's conviction for the city are immense," he added.

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"Make no mistake, the men who led this gang - in particular Joyce and Amos - are among the most dangerous men in Manchester."

Police said Mr Chin and Mr Gilbert were killed in "military style" operations that were "executed with precision".

Mr Chin was driving along Anson Road in Longsight on 15 June 2007 when a silver Audi pulled up alongside and seven shots were fired.

Three of them struck his upper arm, upper back and chest, injuring his liver, heart and lungs and causing massive internal bleeding. He died later in hospital.

A few weeks later on 27 July, his friends and family, including Tyrone Gilbert, were attending an impromptu wake on Frobisher Close when a number of shots were fired into the crowd from a passing car.

(Left to right) Aeeron Campbell, Narada Williams and Ricardo Williams
Aeeron Campbell, Narada Williams and Ricardo Williams were also convicted

Mr Gilbert was hit by a single bullet to the chest and he died in hospital. One of his friends, Michael Gordon, sustained two gunshot wounds to his left leg but survived.

One gang member, Aeeron Campbell, 25, was traced by DNA after he left a balaclava and pair of gloves at the scene.

He was arrested in August 2007 followed by Joyce, Amos and the rest of the gang.

Their subsequent prosecutions were secured with the help of six witnesses who were former associates of the gang.

All were given immunity from prosecution and are now in witness protection programmes.

Joyce was found guilty of murdering Mr Chin and Mr Gilbert, as well as the attempted murder of Mr Gordon.

Amos was found guilty of Mr Gilbert's murder and the attempted murder of the other man, alongside senior gang members Campbell, Narada Williams, 28, and his brother, Ricardo Williams, 26.

Five other men were convicted of a range of gang-related offences including gun possession and drug dealing. A sixth man pleaded guilty to the charges.

The men will be sentenced by judge Brian Langstaff on Tuesday.

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SEE ALSO
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