Three Sentenced For Teenager's Murder
16th November 2016
Today, (Wednesday 16th November 2016) Jake Culshaw, Paul Martin and John Martin have been sentenced for the murder of 16-year-old Lewis Dunne.
Lewis died on 15 November 2015, after being shot as he walked along the towpath of the Leeds/Liverpool Canal in Vauxhall.
Jake Culshaw was sentenced to life with a 30 year tariff, Paul Martin was sentenced to life with a 30 year tariff and John Martin was sentenced to life with a 28 year tariff.
Following the sentencing Lewis' parents, Gemma and Steven, released this statement: "Our beautiful son Lewis was senselessly murdered in November of last year. Lewis was the baby of the family, the centre of our world; he spread love to everyone he met and those who loved him back got the fortune of knowing just how amazing he was.
"This has been an exceptionally difficult time for our family and we are relieved that justice has been done. We have had a great deal of support from the community and Merseyside Police, especially Detective Superintendent Tom Keaton and the investigation team. We are very grateful for their hard work which has got us to where we are today."
Detective Superintendent Keaton, said: "Firstly, we'd like to express our deepest sympathy to Lewis' mum and dad (Gemma and Steven) and sisters (Yasmin and Ashley) who are still struggling to come to terms with the tragic loss of their son and brother.
"Since that tragic night on 15 November last year they have suffered immeasurable grief and distress for the senseless murder of Lewis, who was just 16-years-old.
"Today Jake Culshaw, Paul Martin and John Martin have been convicted of his murder after they shot him in the back as he was walking along the tow-path of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in Vauxhall.
"At about 10.30pm Lewis had popped out to meet a friend, who was going to let him use his bike to ride into town and get some cigarettes, but he never returned home. After shooting him in cold blood the three people convicted of his murder, calmly left the scene and further down the canal threw the murder weapon, which had been broken up, into the canal in a bid to get rid of the evidence - the parts of that shotgun were recovered by the police underwater search team in January 2016 following an extensive search of the canal between Sandhill Lane road bridge and the railway bridge
"As the offenders disposed of the weapon a member of the public, who had been walking nearby, and some local residents rushed to Lewis' aid and tried to help him prior to the arrival of the ambulance service. But unfortunately the attempts of the members of the public and the medics were to no avail and Lewis was pronounced dead at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital at 11.37pm.
"We believe that Lewis was a victim of mistaken identity and that those convicted today believed that he was the member of an opposing group of males. Prior to the murder there had been a series of incidents involving both groups, culminating in violent attacks from both sides, using a multitude of weapons. The cowardly murder of Lewis was their retribution.
"We know four offenders lay in wait under the Vauxhall/Eldonian bridge on the tow-path and when they saw Lewis they believed he was one of the group and shot him in the back as he walked by.
"Ultimately nothing can bring Lewis back, but today we hope the family can take some small comfort in the fact that justice has been served.
"The investigation team and the Crown Prosecution Service have worked tirelessly over the past 11 months to bring this case to court and I would like to thank the prosecuting barristers Ian Unsworth QC and Anya Horwood for their dedication and exceptional presentation of the evidence during the trial.
"Today's convictions are the result of a collective determination to bring the killers to justice.
But our work doesn't end here. We believe that there were four people who were involved in Lewis' murder and we are determined to find that fourth male. I would appeal to anyone who knows who the fourth male was to contact us so that we can do the right thing by Lewis' family and ensure that all those responsible for the murder are brought to justice.
"Gun crime has very clear, serious and often tragic consequences. We cannot allow children to fear walking the streets because others don't have the intelligence or common sense to steer clear of guns.
"We will therefore do everything in our power to continue to take guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals.
"The rest of the criminal justice system is equally committed to gripping gang and gun crime - which is a concern for the UK as a whole not just Merseyside."