FOUR gang members who blasted a father to death in his own home as his four-year-old son slept in the next room have been given minimum jail terms totalling 90 years.
Cyrus Hanley, Colin Webster, Luke Toner and Jake Looby were yesterday described as “immature and cowardly” by a judge for the murder of 21-year-old Jordan Stapleton.
The killers – who called themselves the S Gang – carried out the shotgun execution as they believed Jordan was a police informant who had “snitched” on his cousin Hanley for dealing drugs.
As he imposed life sentences on all four men, Mr Justice Coulson told them: “There can be no doubt that all four of you are immature – almost painfully so.
“You three – Looby, Toner and Webster – you are white kids trying to talk with a West Indian accent. You, Cyrus Hanley, are a smirking fantasist. You all believe you are gangsters.
“You are only gangsters in your empty heads. Shooting a man in his bathroom – four against one – doesn’t make you gangster. It makes you a coward.”
Mr Stapleton was shot in the chest at his home in Beckhill Chase, Meanwood, Leeds, on April 16 as he was at home with his son.
Police described how the four men, who were involved in dealing drugs in the city, left a trail of amateurish clues after the shooting which linked them to the killing. Looby made a 999 call to the police shortly afterwards in which he tried to disguise his voice and refused to give his name.
All four men were convicted of murder after a six-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.
Hanley, 19, of Miles Hill View, and Webster, 19, of Bayswater Row, Harehills, were told they must serve a minimum of 24 years in jail before they can be considered for release. Toner, 20, of Beckhill Chase, must serve a minimum of 22 years. Looby, 19, of Miles Hill Street, must serve at least 20 years.
Mr Stapleton was blasted in the chest at close range and it was clear from the scene that he had no chance to react or defend himself and appeared to have been executed in cold blood.
An investigation identified that at the time of the murder Hanley was facing a four-year prison sentence for attempting to supply drugs.
Hanley thought that Mr Stapleton had “grassed him up” and wanted to take revenge before he went to prison.
Checks on his mobile phone showed Hanley had been talking to a third party about sourcing a firearm and ammunition the day after being charged with the drugs offence on February 20.
After the hearing, Det Supt Scott Wood, who led the West Yorkshire Police investigation, said: “This was a truly appalling crime where a young man was needlessly killed.
“The evidence has shown that Jordan’s murder was planned in advance and that those involved knew exactly what was going to happen.
“They acted completely without conscience and have shown no genuine remorse for their actions. In fact, their behaviour during the trial has been absolutely atrocious with them openly laughing in the dock.
“Jordan’s family have been left distraught at his death in such sudden and brutal circumstances. This is compounded by the fact that most of those involved grew up alongside him, and in Hanley’s case, were related to him.
“Although Jordan’s killers were involved in crime and clearly had access to a firearm, they were not the ‘Mr Bigs’ they seem to think they are. This is abundantly clear from the amateurish approach they took to taking revenge on Jordan although the terrible consequences were the same.”