These are the faces of the men who brought unprecedented violence to a leafy suburban town renowned for its low crime rate.
The friendship between Lewis Clarke, 18, Malcolm Graham, 19, and Adam Mercer, 22, led to shootings and stabbings across Formby and Ainsdale, in Merseyside.
Graham and Mercer were already known to police. Both were violent and Graham had a previous conviction for possession of a shotgun, the Liverpool Echo reported .
Clarke fell out with his former Formby pal William Cowley, who he had known for years, and decided to fire a shot at William Cowley’s house in Gardner Road, Ainsdale.
Clarke went over to the house, pulled a gun from the waistband of his trousers, and fired a shot into his suburban porch.
The incident, which happened last year, shocked the town, which was hardly used to firearms incidents.
The shooting led to even more violence in the heart of Formby village.
Cowley, who was armed with a knife, spotted a lad in the town he suspected of being an associate of Clarke’s. The pair fought in the middle of the village and then Cowley plunged a knife into his side. He left the teenager fighting for his life in an alleyway off Brows Lane, in the heart of the village.
Cowley was chased by a group of lads, who caught and attacked him near Holy Trinity Church.
Fortunately an alert Police Community Support Officer raised the alarm. The victim, who arrived at hospital in a critical condition, survived the attack. Cowley, who had a criminal record, was given five year’s detention, with an extended three years on licence for the attack.
When police later arrested Malcolm Graham, they found footage on his iPhone which linked him, Mercer and Clarke to a number of guns. The footage revealed a fascination with guns. In one clip Mercer was filmed snorting cocaine from the barrel of a shotgun.
When their case was heard at Liverpool Crown Court it was revealed that one of the gang’s weapons had been used to shoot dead a teenager on Smithdown Road, although neither Graham, Mercer or Clarke were linked to the crime.
The simmering feud between Clarke and Cowley later exploded in prison, when the two teens found themselves locked in the same cell. Cowley required treatment after being attacked by his former friend.
Graham was also caught up in prison violence, knocking notorious Netherton thug Ryan Size unconscious at Hindley Young Offenders’ Institution.
Clarke, of Southport Road, Formby, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, possession of a firearm, and two counts of possessing bullets.
He was was sent to a Young Offenders’ Institution for seven-and-a-half years. Graham, of Albert Road in Southport, and Adam Mercer, of Cullen Street in Bootle, were sentenced to 11 years in a Young Offenders’ Institution and three years in prison respectively.
Judge David Aubrey, QC, sentencing Clarke, said: “You became agitated, you began to make threats towards the family and then, in a public highway, you produced a firearm.
“It was described as a handgun and it was in the waistband of your trousers. You fired that weapon at the porch which caused a glass window to smash.
“You were willing to be in close proximity to those who may have ultimate control of such lethal weapons, and by so doing you are perpetuating the circulation of lethal weapons in our society.”
Following the sentencing, which took place in August, Detective Inspector Richie Jones, said: “The sentencing of these three offenders today sends out a strong message to those involved in gun crime – Merseyside Police is committed to taking those involved in gun crime off the streets.
“Malcolm Graham and Lewis Clark were both linked by DNA, photographs and video to a Baikal self-loading pistol which just three weeks before it came in to their possession was used to murder Kevin Wilson on Smithdown Road in February 2015.
“These three thought they were untouchable and were seen in photographs on phones owned by Graham and Clarke with the weapons. Mercer was also videoed on the phone snorting cocaine off a sawn-off shotgun.
“Alongside the firearms offences Malcolm Graham was sentenced for two section 20 assaults, one was on a prison inmate and the other was an assault on Adam Mercer.
“People like Malcolm Graham, and those he associates with, have a complete disregard for each other, as you can see from the assault on Mercer, let alone other members of the public.”