Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Drive-by Liverpool shooting gang jailed for life

Stephen and Lee Coulter
The Coulter brothers were jailed for a minimum of 32 years

Four men have been jailed for life for the murder of a cyclist who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Liverpool.

David Garrity, 32, was found dead in an alleyway in Kirkdale in June 2008 after he was shot at from a Volvo car.

Brothers Stephen and Lee Coulter, Jason Sunderland and Wesley Porter were all found guilty of his murder by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court.

The Coulters and Sunderland must serve 32 years before they are eligible for parole and Porter, 27 years.

In a statement, Mr Garrity's mother, Eileen, paid tribute to the police, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and witnesses in the trial, which began in November 2009.

There were other incidents linked to the murder that had gone unreported to the police
Eileen Garrity, victim's mother

"David was a major part of our close-knit family," she said.

"His murder came just four months after the loss of his father, and was therefore a double blow to the family.

"The length of the trial has been a massive drain on the family and we are sure that it has also been for the jury members. We thank them for their time and commitment."

Jason Sunderland and Wesley Porter
All four men had denied murder

Mrs Garrity paid special tribute to one key prosecution witness, who cannot be identified, for her courage in giving evidence.

"There were other incidents linked to the murder that had gone unreported to the police," she added.

"We believe that this was due to a fear of reprisals from those involved.

"We hope that the public will recognise the support that this key witness has been given to allow her to give her evidence."

She said the family hoped witnesses to other violent crimes would be encouraged to come forward, following the protection given to the witness in this case.

Stephen Coulter, 25, of Renwick Road, Walton; Lee Coulter, 30, of Store Street, Bootle; Jason Sunderland, 37, of no fixed address and Porter, 23, of Argos Place, Walton, had all denied murder.

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