THE dad had of murdered Elle Edwards has told of his grief, saying he had to watch the CCTV footage of her death and will never be able to unsee it.
Beautician Elle, 26, was an innocent bystander who was gunned down outside a Merseyside pub on December 24 last year.
Now her dad, Tim, 52, has spoken about the trauma of having to identify his daughter and having to face a second Christmas Day without her.
Tim told The Mirror: “I had to watch the CCTV of her getting shot before the trial. I’ll never unsee it. Elle was sat on the wall having a fag with her back to that piece of s**t.
“The targets he was aiming at were standing in front of Elle and he just sprayed at them. Another six inches up or to the side and she’d still be alive.”
Tim and Elle had been supposed to be wrapping their Christmas presents together but instead she and her sister Lucy, 22, went for a drink at the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey Village.
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Armed with a Skorpion submachine gun Connor Chapman, 23, had been waiting three hours for his intended targets, gang rivals Kieran Salkeld and Jake Duffy to appear.
Elle popped outside for a cigarette and was sitting on a wall opposite Salkeld and Duffy, who she knew but were not friends.
Chapman then emerged from the car park, firing 12 shots into the crowd.
Tim learned that something was terribly wrong with his daughter as is son Connor, 30, woke him in the early hours of Christmas Day by banging on his door to tell him they had to get to the hospital.
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When they got to Arrowe Park Hospital, the surgeon told them she had passed away, suffering a shot to the head.
Tim said: “We couldn’t see Elle so we went home to her mum’s home and I just went and slept in her bed. The day after I had to identify her. I got the chance to speak to her. That was my final goodbye. It was awful.”
Determined to get justice for Elle he bravely appeared at a police press conference within days, wearing a Fleetwood Mac t-shirt, a band Elle loved.
Tim told how just a couple of days before her death, he, Elle and Lucy had gone to Manchester Christmas markets and they had all ended up back at his house with Landslide by the band playing as Elle sang along.
Chapman was convicted of murder at Liverpool Crown Court in July this year and banged up for a minimum of 48 years.
Tim said the Skorpion gun, which was capable of firing 15 rounds a second, had been the gang’s “gun of choice” and had been used in at least three murders in Merseyside in the past year.
Tim’s grief comes as a new, even younger generation of gang gun runners are emerging.
Local community group Weapons Down Gloves Up is expanding its e-course scheme to warn of the dangers to nine-year-olds and is considering extending this to kids as young as five.
Director Chris Nisbet said he was considering the expansion after a teacher told him she had seen kids that age being lured by gangs outside the gates.
In the first half of 2021 there were 850 gun offences in the UK with this rising to 850 for the same period in 2022, according to Home Office figures.
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At the same time, gun offences in London rose from nine to 237.
The Elle Edwards Foundation has been set up by Tim to support families who have lost loved ones to gun crime.
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