Coked up coward, monster paedophile and racist spitter jailed

These are the faces of eight criminals locked up for crimes linked to Merseyside this past week.

One judge had to deal with a monstrous paedophile who raped a young girl more than 40 times.

A court heard about a racist and homophobic yob, who spat at police when they tried to arrest him.

Judges had to sentence a fugitive dealer who sold super strength cocaine to undercover police officers and a man who issued a chilling warning to a stranger before slashing his throat.

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And one heard how a coward dragged his sleeping girlfriend out of bed, before punching her more than 20 times.

Here is an overview of some of the most serious cases to have concluded this past week.

Steven Hender

Steven Hender

Wanted robber Steven Hender was chased by police when spotted in a pub more than a year after his crime.

The 33-year-old was one of two robbers who targeted a security guard making a cash delivery on November 7, 2018.

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Hender and an accomplice approached the victim outside a Tesco Express store in Queens Drive in West Derby.

One of the men was holding a machete and demanded money from a cash box, which the pair snatched.

They fled with a getaway driver in a red Renault Kadjar, which was later found abandoned in nearby Moscow Drive.

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The unopened cash box was located in Barkiss Close in Toxteth.

More than a year later, on February 15, 2020, Hender was in the Victoria pub, in Rainhill, when police rushed in after a tip-off.

Hender shoved one officer before fleeing by the back door, but was chased on foot and detained, when he assaulted an officer.

A knife was found on him, along with a large quantity of cash and a number of car keys.

Having been convicted of robbery, Hender was jailed for 15 years and 10 months.

Paul Gallagher

Paul Gallagher, 35, of Kestrel Dene, Fazakerley

Paul Gallagher said he couldn't remember supplying cocaine to police because he smoked so much cannabis his memory was "f***ed".

The 35-year-old was part of a gang who sold super strength 93% cocaine and 59% pure heroin to undercover police officers.

Operation Finberry saw £21,000 of cocaine, £98,000 of heroin and £200,000 of cannabis recovered between 2014 and 2015.

Police snared nine gang members but other affiliates – Vinny Waddington murder suspect David Ungi – remain at large.

Gallagher helped supply a covert officer with ounces of cocaine but claimed he could source kilos during a meeting at Dixy Chicken in Smithdown Road.

But he couldn't be found when the gang – including senior figure Ronald Fitzgibbon – were arrested during raids in 2015, then jailed in 2016.

When finally caught on Valentine's Day this year – in Liverpool city centre – Gallagher claimed not to recall his past actions.

Gallagher, of Kestrel Dene, Fazakerley, insisted during an interview: "I don't deal in anything unlawful, I'm a lawful man."

He added: "I've been smoking pot for 20 years, my memory is f***ed. I've never ever supplied drugs. It's not my thing."

Gallagher, who had 11 past convictions for 20 offences, including possessing a gun, later admitted conspiring to supply cocaine.

He was jailed for five years and seven months.

Liam Connolly

Liam Connolly, 21, of Lapwing Close, Newton le Willows

Liam Connolly dragged his sleeping girlfriend out of bed before breaking her face with more than 20 punches.

The 21-year-old smashed his way into the defenceless victim's home after an all night cocaine and alcohol bender.

The mum of his two-year-old daughter woke to find Connolly pulling her by the hair, then raining down blows.

Having broken her maxilla – the bone in the upper jaw below the nose – the coked up coward fled, before police arrived.

He carried out the cowardly attack at her Newton le Willows address, at around 7.30am, on Sunday, June 2 last year.

Victims of domestic violence are being encouraged to use the "999 Silent Solution" if they need help in an emergency.

Merseyside Police are asking people to become familiar with the option within the 999 System.

Silent Solution is a a part of the 999 system and allows people who are not free to speak to be connected to the police.

Callers are advised to make a noise or press 55, which alerts the BT operator to the fact you need help, so they can connect you to the police.

The system enables all 999 callers, to access support in the manner described, it is important that a noise is made or that 55 is pressed.

For example if you can only make a noise, such as tapping the handset, coughing, crying or even talking to the offender, then these actions will alert the attention of the BT operator.

Connolly had earlier sent the victim a text asking who she was with, when she "effectively told him to get lost".

He turned up with friends, who waited outside, while he smashed a front window with a stone to get into a living room.

Connolly, of Lapwing Close, Newton le Willows, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm.

He received 16 weeks in jail, suspended for 18 months, in January 2018 for battery, after headbutting a man in the street. He admitted breaching that order in its final month by attacking Miss Leicester.

Connolly was jailed for two years and two months.

Kevin Clegg

Kevin Clegg, 37, of no fixed address but from Bootle

Kevin Clegg raped a young girl more than 40 times in what a judge described as a "campaign of rape".

The paedophile was found guilty of carrying out a minimum of 44 offences of rape on the child, over a period of six years.

The 37-year-old also committed 42 other sexual offences, 20 of which involved him encouraging her to rub his private parts.

A court heard Clegg, from Bootle, ruined the girl's childhood and left the "extremely vulnerable" victim emotionally scarred.

The monster had admitted two offences – one count of sexual assault and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

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However, he denied 10 further offences, including six counts of rape, one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, one count of sexual assault of a child, assault by penetration, and sexual assault. Some counts referred to multiple instances of abuse, for example 20 rapes in one count.

Clegg, of no fixed address, was convicted of the 10 offences by a jury and jailed for 19 years, with an extended one year on licence.

For the rest of his life he must sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and restraining order.

Gary Smith

Gary Smith, 29, of no fixed address but from Kirkby

Gary Smith was caught with a CS gas canister in his jacket pocket just days after two shootings in Kirkby.

The 29-year-old, was stopped by officers following the incidents on the evening of Monday, January 6 this year.

Officers were called to Windermere Drive after a shotgun was fired at the front door of a house, just before 6.25pm.

At around 6.50pm, shots were fired from a handgun at the windows of a house in Stocks Road, and a car parked close by in Mossborough Drive.

Police put in place a week-long Section 60 order, which allowed officers to stop and search any males aged between 14 and 40 without reasonable grounds.

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Officers were on Broad Lane at around 4pm, on Friday, January 10, when they spoke to Smith, then aged 28.

Smith, of no fixed address, admitted possessing a weapon for the discharge of a noxious liquid.

He has 22 previous convictions for 48 offences, including robbery and multiple counts of possessing knives in public.

Smith was jailed for five years in 2014 for possessing a sawn-off shotgun after being photographed holding the weapon.

This week he was jailed for seven months.

Christopher Vaughan

Christopher Vaughan, 25, of Caspian Place, Bootle.

Christopher Vaughan told a stranger "I'm in the mood for killing somebody today, is it going to be your day?" before slashing his throat.

The 35-year-old, of Caspian Place, Bootle, attacked his victim outside Bootle Strand shopping centre, on the evening of May 20 this year.

He had been drinking since 2pm and had been involved in an argument during a "domestic incident" at his home before the attack.

Vaughan went out, armed with an eight-inch kitchen knife, and his worried sister called the police to say he had a knife.

Robert Lloyd was sitting at a bus stop near the shopping centre , with people drinking lager and cider, at around 10pm.

Vaughan shouted "what are you looking at?" and started waving his knife around, before the victim temporarily got it off him.

However, Vaughan took the weapon back and when they struggled and Mr Lloyd fell to the ground, held the knife to his throat.

He then asked the chilling question, before cutting the throat of his victim – who fortunately survived the senseless attack.

Defence lawyers said extremely remorseful Vaughan had no memory of the incident, when he was drunk and in poor mental health.

Vaughan, who has no previous convictions, admitted wounding with intent and making threats with an article or blade.

He was jailed for four years.

Joseph Corcoran

Joseph Corcoran, 23, of no fixed abode, was jailed for six months for racist and homophobic comments towards police officers who tried to arrest him

Joseph Corcoran spewed racist and homophobic abuse and spat at police when they tried to arrest him in the city centre.

The vile yob attacked officers and even continued to spit all over his cell once in custody during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 23-year-old launched the verbal and physical assault when he was stop checked in Williamson Square on August 4.

Officers found he was wanted for breaching a supervision order and attempted to arrest him, at which point he flipped.

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Coccoran admitted a racially aggravated public order offence, three counts of common assault on an emergency worker and two counts of a public order offence motivated by homophobic comments. He was jailed for six months.

Speaking after the case, Detective Chief Inspector Siobhan Gainer said the abuse Corcoran levelled at officers simply doing their job was "shocking".

She said: "Spitting is never acceptable but particularly in the current climate, with the threat of Covid-19, it is an added danger that police officers should not be faced with."

Timothy Cousins

Timothy Cousins, 32, of Olivia Street, Bootle

Persistent paedophile Timothy Cousins was finally jailed after being caught with a video of a four-year-old boy being raped.

The 32-year-old has twice previously been caught downloading indecent images of children being sexually abused.

Yet both times the pervert, of Olivia Street, Bootle, was spared jail and given a chance to change his ways.

Cousins was first convicted of possessing indecent images in December 2015, then given 20 months in jail, suspended for two years, in January 2016.

He was also made subject to a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), meant to restrict his use of the internet, and prevent him offending again.

But he was convicted of downloading more vile photos of children and breaching both his suspended sentence and his SHPO in January 2017.

However, when sentenced in July 2017, he was handed yet another suspended sentence – this time seven months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

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As a result Cousins' SHPO was extended to run until 2027 and on July 2 last year, a female officer visited his home to check he was complying.

Cousins confessed he had been using the Grindr app, which he had since deleted, and Google Drive online storage, which he was banned from doing.

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When his phone was checked, officers found 24 indecent images of children, which included 20 photos and four videos, of boys and girls aged four to 14.

Cousins admitted three counts of downloading and one count of possessing indecent images of children, plus two counts of breaching his SHPO.

He was jailed for 16 months.

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