Killer of innocent beautician cost taxpayers an eye-watering sum

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Beautician Elle Edwards was shot dead by Connor Chapman (Image: PA)
Beautician Elle Edwards was shot dead by Connor Chapman (Image: PA)

The man who shot beautician Elle Edwards dead has spent almost £75,000 of taxpayers’ cash on defence lawyers.

Legal aid payments have been used to cover scores of Connor Chapman’s offences since he was 14. Last month, he was jailed for a minimum of 43 years for killing bystander Elle, 26, in a bungled drive-by shooting on Christmas Eve 2021.

Chapman, 23, fired a submachine gun at two gang rivals outside the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey, Wirral, wounding them but killing Elle. His previous crimes include robbery, assault, burglary, possessing an offensive weapon, vehicle theft and cocaine and cannabis possession.

Killer of innocent beautician cost taxpayers an eye-watering sum eideziqkeiqhhinvElle Edwards was killed at The Lighthouse pub in Wallasey, Merseyside, on December 24, 2022 (Liverpool Echo)
Killer of innocent beautician cost taxpayers an eye-watering sumConnor Chapman in a police custody picture from 2021 (Liverpool echo)

At the age of 18, he was locked up for eight months after being chased by police at double the speed limit in a stolen Audi. The judge told him: “You have a bad record despite your young age, and you have been given every possible chance. You have no regard at all for other people.” By the age of 20, he had 19 convictions for 43 offences. A Freedom of Information request reveals 40 separate payments to solicitors and barristers totalling £74,348.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “Connor Chapman did not receive a penny – it was sent directly to lawyers so he could face justice for his crimes. Without legal representation, criminals could argue their trial was unfair and convictions could be quashed.”

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Last month, we reported that Chapman recorded a rap video in prison telling enemies they "will regret it" saying they had "signed their own death". The footage recovered by detectives from a mobile phone, was not heard by the jury during the trial and was only aired during his sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court where he was told he would spend at least 48 years in prison.

Nigel Power, KC, prosecuting, highlighted Chapman's "attitude towards gun crime" as an aggravating feature of his offending. He said: "We submit all of the aggravating features we have described come into play. We emphasise particularly the complex and deliberate planning, the fact the defendant intended to kill at least two people, that he fired 12 separate deliberate shots, he took significant steps to avoid detection, he implicated other people who could not have committed the murder, he has displayed no remorse and the defendant’s attitude to serious gun crime generally are features to which the court should pay attention."

Mr Power said during his time in custody and before the video was made the home of Chapman's mum was violently burgled, an incident for which he vowed violent revenge. Read from a transcript of Chapman's words, Mr Power said: "You can chat a bro today and we’ll chat a bro again. Cos these roads are getting sticky and they wanna see us dead. All I wish for me brothers is freedom, health and wealth. And if it (inaudible) put this to bed but they ran up on me mum, that’s one thing they will regret.

"An’ I promised her one thing they’re never touchin’ her again. Repercussions, bigger actions, off with his head and little did he know he’d just signed his own death, we’d have got his mum touched but she’s already in hell so I’ll p*** on her grave and fill her casket up with shells and, if it gets fixed then I'm doin’ it again and I'll pull up to your funeral let off on all your friends."

In another section Chapman rapped "I know I've been a scumbag but I'm proud of that s***". He referred to his Nan wanting him to get out of prison, and again made another chilling violent threat.

Chapman rapped: "[My Nan] never prayed in her life but she prays that I'm home. these are the words, everything that I wrote, I said nan gotta go only get two hours of soash [social]. but it plays on me mind. Everythin' that she spoke. I love me brother ‘C’ tho' I’m glad that he made it. If I make it outta of here I’m due to be somethin’ famous. because if you touch one of mine I'll leave your soul on the pavement."

Sean Rayment

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