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Trio 'hid guns in children's play area' after John Pordage murder

PUBLISHED: 12:16 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:16 02 August 2019

John Pordage, who was shot and killed in August 2017 Picture: ESSEX POLICE

John Pordage, who was shot and killed in August 2017 Picture: ESSEX POLICE

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Two men and one teenager who hid loaded weapons and drugs paraphernalia after the murder of John Pordage are due to be sentenced later this month - bringing the "painstaking" investigation to a close.

CCTV footage of John Pordage before he was shot and left for dead in Chelmsford Picture: ESSEX POLICECCTV footage of John Pordage before he was shot and left for dead in Chelmsford Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Robert Ketley, 24, Reece Williams, 20, and a 17-year-old boy recovered the guns from a wheelie bin after John Pordage was shot and killed in August 2017.

Mr Pordage, 34, was shot in Baddow Road, Chelmsford, in the early hours of Saturday, August 5. He died in hospital a short time later.

His killer, Bradley Blundell, then aged 17, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 22 years in January this year.

In the hours after the murder, another man, Saul Stanley, made arrangements for a revolver, sawn-off shotgun and bullets to be removed from a house where he had been staying in Chelmsford. Neither of the guns in question were used to harm Mr Pordage.

The loaded pistol found in the children's play area near Stanley Rise Picture: ESSEX POLICEThe loaded pistol found in the children's play area near Stanley Rise Picture: ESSEX POLICE

The weapons were put in a wheelie bin, where they were retrieved by Ketley, Williams and the boy, who was then 15.

The bin was found in an alleyway after the occupants of the house called the police. It had no firearms or ammunition inside, but it did contain half a bin bag of cannabis. A plastic bag was found to have Ketley's fingerprints on it.

The trio were arrested that afternoon, and Williams told officers where the firearms had been hidden - in a children's playground near Stanley Rise.

They were found in the early hours of Monday, August 7, 2017, wrapped in carrier bags.

The sawn-off shotgun that was loaded with two live cartridges and in the locked position, ready to be fired Picture: ESSEX POLICEThe sawn-off shotgun that was loaded with two live cartridges and in the locked position, ready to be fired Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Officers recovered a revolver loaded with five rounds of ammunition and a sawn-off shotgun loaded with two live cartridges that was in the locked position, ready to be fired. They also found shotgun cartridges and drugs paraphernalia.

Williams, of Brookmans Road, Stock; Ketley, of no fixed address; and the teenager, of Leigh-on-Sea, were charged in January this year.

They were each charged with two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon, two counts of possession of prohibited ammunition, and one count of perverting the course of justice.

The teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, admitted the charges at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday, July 12.

Ketley initially denied the offences but changed his pleas to guilty on the first day of his trial on Wednesday, July 24.

Williams admitted the firearms and ammunition offences but denied perverting the course of justice.

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He was found not guilty of that charge yesterday, Thursday, August 1.

All three are due to be sentenced later this month, at a date yet to be decided.

Senior investigating officer DCI Martin Pasmore, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This case highlights once again the risks of getting involved with criminal groups.

"These individuals were asked to recover firearms and drugs. They are now facing the possibility of imprisonment.

"It is incredible to think they hid guns in a children's play area.

"Both were loaded with live ammunition. The possible consequences of a child finding these weapons is chilling.

"Although the guns subject of these convictions were not directly linked to the murder of John Pordage, the case itself was linked via Saul Stanley, who was present at the shooting and convicted of firearms offences related to the guns recovered from the play area.

"This brings to a close a painstaking investigation involving three court cases and seven defendants.

"My thoughts are also with John's family and friends.

"We await the sentences but I hope it brings them some comfort that the judicial proceedings are now over and that justice has been achieved for John.

"We are committed to getting guns off our streets and we continue to work tirelessly to tackle such serious crime.

"I appeal to anyone who knows of any unlawful possession of firearms to contact us so that we can get them off the streets and bring offenders to justice."

The court case brings to a close a two-year investigation into the death of Mr Pordage.

Bradley Blundell, 20, of Cromwell Close, Boreham, was convicted of his murder in December 2018. He was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 22 years in January this year.

Ella Colgate, 19, of Aldridge Close, Chelmsford, was convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in December 2018 and jailed for 12 months in January this year.

Saul Stanley, 20, of no fixed address, was convicted in January 2018 of two counts of possession of a prohibited firearm, one count of possession of ammunition without a certificate and perverting the course of justice. He was jailed for five years in March 2018.

An 18-year-old boy from Chelmsford who was 15 at the time of his arrest admitted perverting the course of justice and handling stolen goods in January 2018. He was sentenced in March 2018 to a 12-month community order and 40 hours of unpaid work.

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