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Thursday, 21 May 2009

Bobby Speirs sentenced at Manchester Crown Court .


Mr Justice Griffith Williams sentenced Bobby Speirs, 41,to serve a minimum term of 23 years in jail at Manchester Crown Court today.Bobby Speirs, 41, showed no reaction as he was convicted of his part in organising the bloody Brass Handles pub shootout in Salford three years ago. Speirs believed he had the 'perfect alibi' when he went to the game between Manchester United and Newcastle United at the time of the horrific shooting. He was watching the game from an executive box as he organised the 'hit' during half-time.He was using mobile phones to oversee a plot to send two gunmen to the pub and carry out a 'planned execution', according to the prosecution. The gunmen went into the pub and opened fire, wounding two victims in a volley of shots one Sunday afternoon in March 2006. But the 'hit' backfired as the would-be assassins were overpowered by other people in the pub. It is thought they were disarmed and shot dead with their own guns.
Speirs was instrumental in planning the operation and kept in touch with two others involved by mobile phone leading up to the shootings. Within days, Speirs fled to Spain but he was extradited several months later. Speirs, who at the time lived in Butterstile Avenue, Prestwich, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to murder but was unanimously found guilty after four hours of deliberations by the jury.
Two others, Ian McLeod, an infamous Manchester gang leader, and Constance Howarth, had already been convicted at an earlier hearing of roles in the murder plot.
The two would-be assassins, Richard Austin, 19, and Carlton Alveranga, 20, died after being shot in the chest. They had gone to the pub on the Langworthy Estate to kill but ended up losing their own lives. Among the customers in the Brass Handles at the time were David Totton and Aaron Travers, who were said to be the 'possible' targets. The gunmen went to the pub with McLeod while Howarth was inside acting as a 'spotter' to point out the victim or victims. Mr Totton and Mr Travers were seriously injured as shots were fired but survived. Some customers fought back and Austin and Alveranga were disarmed and shot during the botched assassination.
No-one has ever been brought to justice for the murders of Austin and Alveranga. Speirs was trapped by police thanks to so-called 'cell site analysis' which plotted the movements of mobile phones associated with the defendant and others involved in the plot. He was tracked down in Benidorm. Speirs will be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday.

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