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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Revenge plot saga reaches final act
By Chris Summers
BBC News

Last year three men were convicted of murdering a couple in Lincolnshire in revenge for a killing carried out by their son. But the full story about how the gang paid corrupt police officers for information before and after the killings, can only be revealed now.

TIMETABLE OF EVENTS
O'Brien and Bradshaw
Aug 2003 - Marvyn Bradshaw (pictured, right) shot dead
Jul 2004 - Michael O'Brien (pictured, left) jailed for life
2 Aug 2004 - Jamie Gunn dies of pneumonia
8 Aug 2004 - O'Brien's mother, Joan Stirland and her husband John murdered
30 Jun 2006 - Colin Gunn and two other men jailed for life
1 Jul 2006 - Gunn's supporters riot in Bestwood, Nottingham
26 Oct 2006 - Former trainee detective Charles Fletcher jailed for corruption
4 Nov 2006 - Several people jailed for their part in riot
Jan 2007 - O'Brien's friend, Gary Salmon, jailed for life for his part in Marvyn Bradshaw murder
Aug 2007 - Gunn convicted of encouraging police corruption

Jamie Gunn was physically unhurt when one of two men opened fire on him and his friends outside the Sporting Chance pub in Nottingham in August 2003.

But his best friend Marvyn Bradshaw was killed in the attack and Jamie took it badly.

Over the next year his health declined alarmingly and on 2 August 2004 he died of pneumonia at his flat in the Bestwood area of Nottingham.

That may have been that but for the fact that Jamie Gunn's uncle was the head of the most powerful crime family in Nottingham.

Colin Gunn was seething when he heard of his nephew's death.

He had already been insulted by one of the killers, Michael O'Brien, at his murder trial the previous month.

O'Brien had been convicted of Bradshaw's murder and jailed for life but that was not enough for Gunn.

He decided that, with O'Brien in jail, he would wreak his revenge by targeting O'Brien's mother Joan, and stepfather John Stirland.

Hunted down

The Stirlands were not gangsters or criminals and their only "crime" was to be related to O'Brien.

But they knew Gunn and his cronies were out to get them - shots had been fired at their house in Nottingham in September 2003 - and they were forced to begin a nomadic existence.

Forensic teams behind police tape
The Stirlands were hunted down to their tiny seaside chalet

The couple eventually ended up in the seaside resort of Trusthorpe in Lincolnshire.

Only two weeks before their deaths they took the risk of coming back to Nottingham to attend the wedding of Mr Stirland's son Lee and his fiance Adele.

When Jamie Gunn died his uncle stepped up his effort to discover where the Stirlands lived.

He contacted a former BT worker, Stephen Poundall, in a bid to find the couple's address.

Traced through phone records

He contacted former colleagues, Anthony Kelly and Andrew Pickering, who ran a computer search. They found the address and passed it on to Mr Poundall, although they had no idea why he wanted it.

Kelly and Pickering later admitted computer misuse and were given suspended jail sentences. Both were sacked by BT.

Colin Gunn
Colin Gunn was determined to avenge his nephew's death

Gunn's gang tracked down the Stirlands and two gunmen arrived at their door on the afternoon of Sunday 8 August 2004.

The gunmen - believed to be John Russell and Michael McNee - fled in a stolen VW Passat, which was abandoned and set on fire in a secluded lane four miles away.

Lincolnshire Police launched a murder enquiry and Colin Gunn was desperate to find out how much the detectives knew about him and his gang.

Man on the inside

Gunn used an intermediary to approach a corrupt police officer, Charles Fletcher, who was asked to find out how the investigation was progressing.

Fletcher had carried out numerous searches of the police computer for Gunn in the past, including searches about their address in Nottingham shortly before shots were fired at it in September 2003.

He had also carried out searches after Gunn became a suspect in the murder of Nottingham jeweller Marian Bates.

Gunn's luck run out in March 2005 when he was arrested along with McNee, Russell and several other men.

Left to right Matthew New, Michael Vickery and Luke Rockley
Several of Gunn's supporters were jailed for their part in the Bestwood riot

Fletcher, who had also been arrested, later pleaded guilty to corruption charges and was jailed for seven years. It emerged that he had been given designer suits by Gunn as payment.

On Friday 30 June 2006 Gunn, McNee and Russell were convicted of conspiracy to murder Mr and Mrs Stirland and all three were jailed for life.

The verdicts went down very badly among Gunn's supporters on the Bestwood estate. That weekend around 30 people started a mini-riot, setting fire to cars and causing 10,000 worth of damage.

Gagging order

Reporting restrictions meant the media were forbidden from naming Gunn during the trial or even after the verdict.

Those restrictions were only lifted last month (July) when he went on trial for conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

On Thursday Gunn was convicted of that offence and is expected to be sentenced to serve time on top of the life sentence he is already serving.

In November last year several people were sent to jail in connection with the Bestwood riot.

Nottinghamshire Police believe they have broken the power of the Gunn family but the case is a salutory reminder of the damage that can be done when a police force fails to deal with such a malignant influence.




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