Gunman Connor Chapman GUILTY of murdering Elle Edwards after innocent beautician, 26, shot dead outside pub on Xmas Eve | The Sun

A GUNMAN has been found guilty of murdering an innocent beautician who was blasted outside a pub on Christmas Eve in a botched gangland hit.

Elle Edwards, 26, was enjoying a festive drink when Connor Chapman, 23, opened fire outside the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey Village, Merseyside.

The innocent beautician was tragically caught up in the crossfire of a deadly gang war between rival groups.

She died after two bullets hit her in the back of the head, with five others injured during the Christmas bloodbath.

It comes as…

  • Chapman can be seen opening fire in the car park after lying in wait for three hours
  • Footage shows the moment the killer was arrested in Tesco
  • Elle's dad branded Chapman an 'absolute scumbag' who couldn't look him in the eye
  • The beautician could be seen laughing with pals just moments before the horror unfolded

Read more on the tragedy

Moment Elle killer arrested in Tesco as he headed on romantic trip with lover

Horror moment gunman opens fire in pub car park – killing innocent beautician

Chapman has now been convicted of murder following a harrowing trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Elle's dad Tim yelled "coward" at the killer after the verdict was delivered, while other family members wept and cried "yes".

Chapman was also found guilty of two counts of attempted murder, two of wounding with intent and one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

His co-accused Thomas Waring was convicted of possession of a prohibited weapon and assisting an offender.

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Speaking outside court, Tim said: "We got the result we wanted, justice for Elle. That's what it's always been about.

"Those two cowards in there decided to drag it out for four weeks, put all these people through that and everyone else around it, involved in the case.

"I can't thank the police enough for what they did, and we got there in the end, the right result.

"I hope them two never see another Christmas again ever in their lives."

Asked whether Chapman had been hiding from him in the dock, the dad said the "coward" had not looked at him once.

He added: "I couldn't care less about him. I'll never, ever mention his name.

"I hope he rots in hell."

Jurors heard how Elle had joined friends for an "enjoyable night out" on Christmas Eve last year.

Her sister Lucy told how they had been at another pub when the group decided to make their way back to the Lighthouse.

Elle drove her sister home before re-joining pals at the establishment where she was later shot dead.

Recalling their final conversation, Lucy said: "When I got out the car I told Elle not to be late so not to ruin Christmas. She said she wouldn't and she’d be about an hour."

She said she later texted Elle saying: “Hey? Get home," to which she didn't respond.

In the morning, Lucy was woken by brother George saying "Elle had been shot".

Chilling CCTV showed Chapman walking from the corner of the pub car park before he began peppering revellers with bullets.

Just moments before, Elle was seen smiling and hugging her friends inside the pub unaware of the horror waiting outside.

Tragically, "wholly innocent" Elle had just popped out for a cigarette when she was hit in the back of the head.

One bullet passed through her skull and brain and exited just above her right eye, while the second travelled into her brain causing "irrecoverable" injuries.

Her death was described as a "human tragedy in its purest and most appalling sense".

Chapman used a Skorpion sub-machine gun – a Czech firearm designed for the security services and the army – to carry out the brutal attack.

The weapon is so powerful that on fully-automatic mode, it can empty a magazine of 15 bullets quicker than a sneeze.

On the night Elle was killed, the gun was in semi-automatic mode with an initial volley of seven shots fired by the gunman, before a further two shots, a brief pause and then another three shots.

The intended targets of the shooting were actually Jake Duffy and Kieran Salkeld, who were injured in the attack.

Tensions had boiled over following a "history of trouble" between rival groups from the Woodchurch and Ford estates, on either side of the M53 in the Wirral.

Chapman had been served with an injunction in the months before the shooting, aimed at preventing gang-related violence.

This was said to be about as much use as a "chocolate teapot" in deterring the violent criminal.

The day after the horror as the horrifying news began to trickle through, Chapman hatched a plot to cover his tracks.

He drove a stolen Mercedes seen on the night of the shooting to the home of pal and co-defendant Thomas Waring.

The car was later found burnt out in an isolated spot in Frodsham, Cheshire.

Waring, who refused to give evidence during the trial, claims a man who is not naming attended his home on Christmas Eve to borrow the vehicle, which was a "pool car" used by drug dealers.

A single particle of gunshot residue was found on the back of a red glove seized at his home.

Chillingly, just four days after the shooting, Chapman posted a message on Facebook calling for calm in the community.

During his evidence, the criminal attempted to paint himself as a changed man and doting dad after spending his youth in and out of prison.

Chapman has a string of convictions ranging from burglary, driving offences and shoplifting to possession of a weapon, car theft and assault.

He denied he was part of an "organised crime group" and instead claimed he was a cocaine dealer at a "very, very low level".

On the night Elle was murdered, the gunman insisted he was at home all evening wrapping presents for Christmas.

He claimed a man had made arrangements to use the Mercedes that night as he sought to cover his tracks.

Chapman was arrested on January 10 in a Tesco in Newtown in Wales as he prepared to head for a "romantic" four-day trip to Penllwyn Lodges with his girlfriend.

Dramatic footage showed him being bundled to the ground by officers near the checkout.

While he was being held in custody, the callous killer remarked he was "not fussed" about being arrested for murder but more about newspapers "naming and shaming" him.

Chapman previously pleaded guilty to possession of a sub-machine gun and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Speaking in a pre-recorded interview, Elle's dad slammed the “absolute scumbag” who murdered her.

Tim told how cowardly Chapman couldn’t even look him in the eye after he shot his daughter dead.

And he revealed how his daughter’s horrific killing will not be in vain as he will never let her be forgotten.

He said: “He’s a scumbag isn’t he? An absolute scumbag. No remorse, not one ounce, not one sign of regret for what he’s done.

“If anything, arrogant to actually believe he can pull the wool over people’s eyes and get away with it. I couldn’t care less about that thing.”

Chapman will be sentenced tomorrow.

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