A taxi driver stashed an arsenal of guns at his home after running up cocaine debts after his marriage broke down. According to the Liverpool Echo, Michael Lyons was convicted of guns, drug dealing and assault charges when he was a youth. A court heard he turned his life around and managed to secure a taxi licence to help provide for his wife and two children. But that all came crashing down and he became a wanted man after police linked him to three different firearms. The 33-year-old’s DNA was identified on a stolen army assault rifle, a sawn- off shotgun and a semi-automatic pistol. Liverpool Crown Court heard “unknown persons” struck at the Merseyside Army Cadet Force centre in ‘Newton-le-Willows, in March 2019. Lee Bonner, prosecuting, said eight rifles with 1,000 rounds of ammunition were stolen during the burglary. He said one rifle was recovered when Merseyside Police raided a property in June 2019. A 5.56mm calibre SA80 model assault rifle, manufactured exclusively for the British Army, was found with a serial number linking it to the burglary. A forensic test revealed Lyons’ DNA on multiple parts of the rifle and police raided his flat in Kirkdale on September 13 that year. Lyon was not at home and officers forced entry then found a sawn-off shotgun on top of a Nike holdall next to his bed. Mr Bonner said a small amount of cannabis and a machete was also seized, along with Lyons’ driving licence and passport. Again, his DNA was found on multiple parts of the shotgun.

Mr Bonner said police were informed that a man had an injury consistent with a shooting at on September 14, 2019. He said there was no suggestion Lyons was involved in that shooting,


but police attended the victim’s home in Kirkby. The court heard the house was “spattered” in blood, there was a bullet hole in a wall,

and two black handguns with maga- zines were found. Lyons’ DNA was recovered from one of the guns. Lyons was circulated as wanted but not arrested until November 19, 2020, when he gave a no comment inter- view. He admitted three counts of possessing prohibited weapons. Lyons has ten previous convictions for 18 offences, including inflicting grievous bodily harm and having an air weapon in public, when he was 16. Phillip Astbury, defending, said Lyons had all three guns at the same time at his home and urged the judge to impose concurrent prison sentences. He said Lyons took possession of the weapons at a time when his life had reached “rock bottom” and w–as “dis- integrating”. Referring to his “troubling” past as a youth, Mr Ast- bury said: “After 2010 the defendant was able to turn things around. He’s proud for example, despite those convictions he was able to secure a licence as a taxi driver. “He was able to work to contribute to the community, surprisingly as it may be, the committee must have been impressed with his efforts to rehabili- tate himself.” Mr Astbury said Lyons “seized that opportunity” and provided financially for his young family. However, he said: “It fell apart sadly as did his marriage, not least because of his medical issues.”

He said these included mental health issues, now stabilised in prison thanks to medication, and epilepsy and

seizures, which had seen him twice admitted to hospital while on remand. Mr Astbury said Lyons was also await- ing an appointment with a consultant regarding “cancer concerns”. Lyons was also now back in phone contact with his wife and children. Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said Lyons’ DNA was “all over” the rifle and shotgun and on three areas of the pis- tol. The judge added: “These are all potentially weapons of significant lethal capacity.” He said Lyons had previous convictions as a young man linked to “serious criminality”. He added: “I accept that no doubt your life fell apart when your marriage broke down back in 2017. “It seems you then descended into a spiral of drug - mainly cocaine - abuse, incurred debt and then people began to use your flat. You realised a holdall left there at least contained a shotgun and you left the accommodation. “Clearly there was a real prospect of them being used by others in the furtherance of serious crime.” Judge Trevor-Jones said Lyons handed himself into police and was “clearly not a well man”. He said: “I accept there was a degree of coercion as far as you were concerned when these weapons came to your property.” The judge jailed Lyons for five years and five months.

APRIL 2021

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96