On Sunday 17th May Aya Hachem, a 19-year-old university student was shot dead as she walked to meet her father in shops in Blackburn, Lancashire. She was caught in the indiscriminate act of men firing a gun at a tyre and car wash centre in an act of intimidation. This car full of feckless lunatics had stopped in front of this establishment in broad daylight and started firing. Aya died at the scene. Three men all in their 30’s have been arrested.
These perpetrators join the ranks of the wretched soulless filth who choose to use guns to harvest their needs but have neither the skill or focus to confine their hideous actions. In their hands they hold what becomes an indiscriminate out of control tool. Since the invention of guns countless people have died at the hands of this blind form of evil. On the 2nd January 2003 Charlene Ellis 18, and Litisha Shakespeare, 17 were gunned down and killed by drive-by feuding gangs in Aston, Birmingham. Others before and others since.
Aya’s death was ironically a week before ITV re-ran the 2017 heart-breaking documentary drama about the shooting murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Croxteth, Liverpool in 2007, “Little Boy Blue”. The perpetrator in this murder was 16-year-old Sean Mercer who was trying to attack rival gang members who had wandered onto his “patch”.
Mercer and his gang associates were a dysfunctional band of feral half-wits, a discarded tribe of drug fuelled petty criminals and bullies parented by adult versions of themselves.
Mercer had armed himself with an old .455 Smith & Wesson revolver. Its age was nothing to do with its functionality, it was simply neglected and in poor condition. The handgun had been illegally procured along with ammunition of the wrong calibre. Whilst the ammunition could be fired the ill-fitting bullets failed to engage the rifling grooves in the worn barrel and as a result started to tumble as they exited the muzzle. Mercer was too stupid to appreciate this, as far as he was concerned the gun fired and a bullet came out. This factor actually held up the investigation because the initial study of the wounds inflicted on Rhys Jones influenced the police to believe it was not caused by this weapon which was quickly seized after the killing. Police forensic investigators thought the keyhole shaped wound in Rhys’s back was an exit wound, (caused by a bullet tumbling through his body from an entry wound in his neck). It was in fact the other way around.
Mercer had set himself up to fire at opposing gang members across a pub car park. The first shot hit a car window. The second shot hit Rhys Jones in the back as he walked across the car park en route home from football practise. Despite this Mercer even fired a third shot which hit another structure. He then fled the scene on a mountain bike.
Sean Mercer was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Other gang members and some of their parents were also awarded prison sentences for assisting Mercer, firearm offences and perverting the course of justice.
On the 28th April 1999 George Knights, a gun fantasist of the worst possible nature fired over 80 rounds from a 9mm handgun and a 5.56mm Bushmaster assault rifle at police officers who were chasing him in cars after a minor incident near Hampton in SW London. Knights even fired towards passers-by narrowly missing a bus driver by inches. In court not only did he deny the offences, (claiming the gunman was a friend called John Paul who escaped), he also suggested that the reason no one was hurt was down to the marksmanship of the firer who was skilfully placing shots towards police officers despite the crowded areas. It was actually pure luck that nobody was killed or injured.
Albert Dryden was another crusading fantasist who shot and killed a local planning officer over a building dispute This was near the village of Butsfield in County Durham in June 1991. The incident was being filmed by the local press at what was anticipated to be the spectacle of a planned demolition after a lengthy dispute.
The picture above was taken of Albert Dryden just seconds before he very deliberately shot and killed Harry Collinson who was standing next to the cameraman on the other side of the fence. The blind naivety and utter stupidity of the press, police, and planning officials at the time of this stand-off was evident. Even when Dryden produced the gun, a .455 Webley revolver from a western style, tie down holster the ridiculous assumption was that he was brandishing a harmless reproduction or deactivated gun. You can see the revolver hammer is fully cocked and the brass cartridge rims are visible in the revolver’s chambers.
After shooting Harry Collinson in the chest his victim had fallen backwards and was lying face up and mortally wounded in a ditch. The surrounding throng momentarily just stood still in shock and then just fled in all directions. Dryden climbed through the fence and paused briefly before firing towards the fleeing crowd. He seemed to be searching for a particular target who it was later considered to be solicitor, Michael Dunston who had been standing close to Harry Collinson. Dryden’s indiscriminate shots hit BBC reporter Tony Belmont in the arm and PC Stephen Campbell in the lower back. He then reloaded and stepped back. Straddling the body of Harry Collinson, he fired another 2 rounds into his chest and face. He discharged the remaining rounds at the demolition vehicles. He was later contained and arrested by armed police.
The actual shooting can still be viewed on utube.
Dryden died in prison in September 2018 and never voiced regret for his actions. He considered himself a righteous landowner struggling to make an existence whilst battling with corrupt officialdom. There was nothing honourable about Albert Dryden. Despite that he had a sympathetic following and even now some locals still voice support for him and his appalling actions.
The victims of these indiscriminate acts are often described as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We find ourselves concurring with the sentiment, but it is woefully wrong. These innocent victims were in a rightful place that was invaded by a profoundly evil mindset who didn’t have the right to breath the air within it.