A man who shot an innocent passer-by in Ellesmere Port on a busy Saturday afternoon has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Liam Cameron, aged 26, pulled the trigger in the town centre missing his intended target and hitting the leg of a 66-year-old man.
He was actually attempting to fire at a 31-year-old man after pulling the gun from his waistband and pointing it at the man’s face down an alleyway.
On Wednesday 26 August Cameron was told he will serve a minimum of 15 years for two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent, possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence and being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.
He will be eligible for parole after serving seven years and six months in prison.
Cameron was sentenced at Chester Crown Court after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.
Shortly before the shooting took place on Saturday 30 November 2019, Cameron, of Camden Road in Ellesmere Port, had intimidated his intended victim by cycling outside a sandwich shop after seeing him inside.
The victim saw Cameron heading down the alleyway and he left the shop to confront him.
Meanwhile, as the confrontation took place, the innocent member of the public was walking down Enfield Road when he heard a loud bang.
He felt a sudden impact to his leg, which he described as being hit by a sledgehammer, and he fell to the floor.
His injuries were so significant that he required surgery after 30 pellets were lodged at the bottom of his leg, however only one could be safely removed.
The bullet hit the shopping bag he was carrying and caused the items to explode.
The shooting took place when a large number of people, including two children, were in the area at the time.
Officers were quickly deployed to the scene and the town was cordoned off while paramedics treated the victim and he was taken to hospital.
Cameron had immediately fled on his bike and hid from police at his girlfriend’s home in Bromborough.
He was arrested by officers the following day and subsequently charged.
On sentencing Cameron, Judge Everett described him as a ‘gangster with a gun’.
Detective Inspector Nigel Parr, of Ellesmere Port Local Policing Unit, said: “Cameron intended to cause serious harm to his target but missed and injured an innocent passer-by instead.
“The injuries the victim sustained were extremely serious and he will live with the consequences of that for the rest of his life.
“It is likely that the shopping the man was carrying helped save him from greater harm as it bore the brunt of the blast before hitting his leg.
“Cameron fired his weapon, without a thought for the people in the area and left the town in fear. His actions were nothing short of reckless and dangerous.
“Although both men will always be reminded of what happened that day, it is perhaps pure luck that no-one suffered life-threatening injuries or worse, lost their life.
“I want to thank everyone who played a part in ensuring a dangerous man has been taken off the streets and putting him behind bars for a very long time.”
David Keane, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said: “This incident terrified the local community and my thoughts are with the man who was injured.
“I want to take this opportunity to praise all the officers involved in catching Cameron and ensuring justice was served for both men and the wider community.”