Essex gun runner jailed

AN ex-soldier dubbed a “dealer in death” for supplying “assassin kits” from his rural Essex retreat to feuding gangs has been jailed indefinitely.

AN ex-soldier dubbed a “dealer in death” for supplying “assassin kits” from his rural Essex retreat to feuding gangs has been jailed indefinitely.

Paul Alexander, 53, admitted making the �1,500 kits by converting harmless blank firing guns into deadly weapons and selling them with silencers and ammunition to warring gangs in Merseyside, Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Derby.

He was arrested following a police investigation into gun crime in the wake of the murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool in August 2007.

Although no weapons or ammunition were linked directly to the murder, they were connected to the Liverpool gangs involved in the killing.


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Armed officers raided a �2.5 million farmhouse in the leafy village of Bardfield Saling, near Braintree in September last year and discovered a deadly weapons factory.

The weapons have been linked to 20 crimes, including one murder and four attempted murders.

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Alexander was given an indeterminate sentence at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday for public protection and must serve at least seven years 320 days before being considered for release.

Alexander had pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life; converting an imitation firearm; possessing, manufacturing and selling prohibited ammunition; cultivating cannabis and using criminal property.

John Dodd, QC, prosecuting, said when police raided the home they found a “sophisticated and extensive” gun factory, dubbing him Alexander an “armourer to the criminal underworld”.

“He was supplying guns and ammunition to enable others to endanger life, to kill, maim and create terror in inner cities around the country.

“He was making commonplace what should be unobtainable in this country - putting weapons into the hands of dangerous and lawless criminals.”

He said the indeterminate sentence was the equivalent of an 18 year jail sentence but with the added protection that he would only be released if he was deemed safe.

He dubbed Alexander “wicked” and “callous”.

“You had in your possession lethal fire arms which you then proceeded to sell to the criminal underworld.

“To put it quite starkly, you were wickedly, in order to obtain money, putting guns into the hands of criminals who you knew were going to use them.

“It's perhaps obvious that without you making those weapons available there's a fair chance that a number of offences would not have been committed.

“It's quite clear in my judgement that you were a major supplier of guns to criminals in this country.

“It must have been obvious to you, right from the start, that in putting these guns into the hands of criminals, there was an inevitable and imminent risk to the lives of the public in general and to the unfortunate victims of those crimes who suffered at the hands of those you passed those guns to.

“Notwithstanding those risks, you went ahead and callously disregarding the safety of the public, supplied guns."

Alexander's wife Caroline Hunter-Mann-Purdy, 59, and her daughter Rachael Hunter-Mann, 39, pleaded guilty in July to money laundering. They were each given a two-year community order each.

Alexander's other stepdaughter Jasmin Purdy, 22, admitted cultivating cannabis. She was sentenced to 12 months jail but walked free from court having served eight months on remand.

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