16-year-old boy led teen mob in three shootings and arson attack

A 16-year-old boy led a mob of teenage thugs in three shootings and a terrifying arson attack.

Harry O’Brien controlled a line of “grafts” and a group of dealers who sold cannabis on the streets of Dingle. But his “lucrative” trade was exposed after a “fight” led to three shootings in three weeks in south Liverpool.

In one attack, bullets were fired from an Audi at a BMW, as the two cars raced side by side through the city at night. A stray bullet went through the front door of a “totally innocent” family’s home and landed on the hallway stairs.

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A gunman on an electric bike riddled a family’s living room with bullets and fired into another victim’s bedroom. Ultimately, O’Brien poured gasoline into a mother’s mailbox and set it on fire as she and her children ran for their lives.

O’Brien is still only 17 years old. But ECHO today convinced one of Liverpool’s top judges that it was in the public interest to lift the reporting restrictions on his case, so that we can reveal the brutality he brought to the streets of this city, between December 2020 and June. of 2021.

Liverpool Crown Court heard attacks directed at members and associates of two families, the Franchettis and the Rosarios. Judge Neil Flewitt QC said he had no doubt they were “the manifestation of a feud” between O’Brien’s gang and “others” with whom “they had a real or perceived grievance, the nature of which has not emerged”. He said: “Sadly, the lives of totally innocent people, including young children, were put at risk by the callous and cowardly actions of everyone involved.”

O’Brien planned and participated in all three shootings, “orchestrated the arson” and the cannabis plot was “his enterprise.” David Temkin, QC, prosecutor, said: “Harry O’Brien was at the center of the crime in this case.”

Michael McClean, then 16, and Aaron Donohoe, then 19, were his “lieutenants,” given “managerial responsibility” over his drug trade. The “trustworthy” Daniel Lawler, 19, joined O’Brien in carrying out two of the shootings, all of which involved the same Glock semi-automatic pistol, which was never recovered by police.

The first shooting took place late on December 29, 2020, after the unknown occupants of a silver BMW X5, who were driving through Dingle looking for O’Brien and his gang, deliberately ‘pregnated’ another BMW. It was driven by O’Brien’s mother, Christine McPartland, with her son, McClean, Donohoe, and a fourth unknown man on board.

He called the police at 10:30 p.m. to report the accident on Beresford Road. His son and his gang fled, as Donohoe called Lawler, who previously helped acquire a stolen Audi with fake license plates. Mr. Temkin said: “What happened next was revenge.”

Aaron Donohoe (left) and Michael McClean (right)
Aaron Donohoe (left) and Michael McClean (right)

Now armed with a loaded gun, O’Brien, McClean, Donohoe and the fourth man set off in the Audi, with banned driver McClean at the wheel. Three shots were fired at the BMW on Dingle Lane, one of which pierced the front door of a “shocked” couple and their seven-year-old son’s house.

Mr Temkin said: “They were in the process of going to bed. They heard the screeching of car tires and found a bullet on the hallway stairs.”

QC said evidence presented by Lawler at trial revealed that O’Brien was in “some kind of dispute” with “the Franchetti family and Rosario.” Over the next three weeks, while staying at the Staybridge Suites Hotel on Keel Wharf, O’Brien arranged for the purchase of a Sur-Ron electric bicycle.

O’Brien and Lawler set off on the bike, one armed with the gun, on January 8, 2021. Just after 8:45 p.m., Donna Rosario called police to say shots had been fired at her Sundridge home. Street.

Temkin said: “She, her partner Ian Franchetti and their daughter were in their living room at the time.” Three bullets were found embedded in the wall and ceiling of her room.

Just after 1 am on January 20, O’Brien and Lawler, on the same bicycle, attacked the Heffey family on Beloe Street. They shot into an upstairs bedroom.

Mr Temkin said: “This was where Joel Heffey, 24, slept. Joel Heffey and Ian Franchetti junior were partners.”

The gang then targeted the Dingle Lane home of Claire Bowness, home with her three teenage children. Temkin said: “Notably, they were all from the Rosario family. Ian Franchetti Sr. is the uncle of those children.”

QC said this arson attack was the “creation” of O’Brien, who sought the help of a 14-year-old boy from Toxteth, whose name cannot be identified for legal reasons. O’Brien also recruited Sian Kanu, then 19, who recruited Mohammed Mohammed, then 19, to carry out the attack.

Roped off house in Dingle Lane.
A family home in Dingle Lane was the subject of an arson attack

The boy filled a canister with petrol at a Shell garage on Aigburth Road on February 1. Mohammed took him to Mrs. Bowness’s house on February 5, shortly after 8 am.

Mr Temkin said: “The fire somehow spread into the property, moving from the hallway, stairwell and upstairs. Claire Bowness and the Rosario children, with their dog, managed to escape around the rear of the property. “. However, all required medical treatment for smoke inhalation.”

On February 12, police raided the home of O’Brien’s grandparents, who lived next door to him on Buckland Street, Aigburth. They found £13,590 in cash in a plastic bag in the loft. One note had the fingerprint of his grandson.

O’Brien was also seen with wads of cash at the Adagio Hotel and Elif restaurant in Liverpool city center on April 26. He was arrested at his aunt’s house on Aigburth Road on July 1, where police found around £5,000 worth of cannabis plus cash. mobile phones, two knives and an axe.

Police also raided the home of Nathan Kelly, 28, a client of O’Brien’s gang, on Lee Park Avenue, Belle Vale, on April 21. Officers found a .22 rimfire revolver loaded with eight bullets in a disused fish tank on his balcony.

Daniel Lawler (left) and Sian Kanu (right)
Daniel Lawler (left) and Sian Kanu (right)

They also discovered a bag containing 36 .22 Remington cartridges suitable for the gun and nine other bullets. In community gardens outside, police recovered a Colt .41 New Army 1892 revolver, wrapped in a black garbage bag and covered with dirt.

Following a series of arrests, those allegedly involved in the shootings and arson were charged with conspiring to possess a firearm and committing arson, both with intent to endanger life.

Prior to trial, O’Brien admitted misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and conspiracy to commit arson being reckless as to whether life would be in danger, which Crown accepted. He had previously admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis.

Richard Pratt, QC, defending, said O’Brien had “past diagnoses of ADHD” and was described as “a risk taker.” And he added: “It may well be that these illnesses, through no fault of their own, have contributed to this behavior.”

Police outside a house in Sundridge Street, Dingle, the target of a shooting
Police outside a house in Sundridge Street, Dingle, the target of a shooting

Judge Flewitt locked O’Brien up for nine years and eight months, with a three-year license extension. He must serve at least two-thirds of that sentence behind bars before he can apply for parole.

Lawler, 21, of Halewood Road, Woolton, was found guilty of the firearms plot and admitted unrelated charges of dangerous driving and handling of stolen property. He was locked up for eight years, with a two-year license extension. He, too, must serve at least two-thirds of that term.

McClean, 18, from Upper Warwick Street, Toxteth, admitted to the cannabis and firearms plots. At trial he admitted to two counts of possession of a prohibited firearm and possession of ammunition. He was locked up for eight and a half years.

Donohoe, 20, from Bewey Close, Toxteth, has admitted to the cannabis and firearms plots, on the basis that he was only involved in the first shooting. He was locked up for six years and four months.

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict against Kanu, 20, of Amity Street Toxteth, in the arson plot. He later admitted to having participated in the criminal activities of an organized crime group. He was locked up for two years and three months.

Also at trial, the unnamed boy, now 15, admitted to the arson plot. He was served with a two-year Juvenile Rehabilitation Order, with a six-month home curfew, between 8 pm and 7 am daily.

Mohammed, 20, of Kingsley Road, Toxteth, and Kelly, 28, of Lee Park Avenue, will be sentenced at later dates.


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