Moment blundering ‘assassin’ shot twice in chest after target turned gun on him

James Freeman, 24, was armed with a loaded semi-automatic pistol when he entered the crowded Old Bank Pub in Liverpool with plans to shoot down rival gangster Alan Roberts on May 17 last year

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Pub shootout caught on CCTV as gunman shot twice

An “assassin” was left with blood pouring from his chest after his target wrestled away his gun and shot him twice.

James Freeman, 24, wore a mask and hoodie as he entered the crowded Old Bank Pub in Liverpool in May last year, with a loaded semi-automatic pistol and plans to gun down Alan Roberts, 30.

But quick thinking Roberts hid behind a door and grabbed the pistol as Freeman entered – leaving the two career criminals wrestling for control of the weapon.

In shocking CCTV footage, the muzzle lights up as two shots are fired, piercing Roberts’ groin, Liverpool Echo reports.

In the clip, other punters can be seen jumping to Roberts’ aid by punching and kicking the gunman.

After grabbing the gun, Roberts tried to shoot his attacker but the bullet had jammed. He then ejected the misfired carriage and shot him twice as he lay defenseless on the floor.

James Freeman (left) confronts Alan Roberts (right) with a gun at the Old Bank Pub in Page Moss, Liverpool


Liverpool echo)

Both men were jailed yesterday over the astonishing events of May 17 last year – the day pubs reopened after lockdown restrictions were lifted.

No explanation was given at Liverpool Crown Court for why Freeman targeted 30-year-old Roberts – the older brother of killer gun thug Michael Roberts.

The 24-year-old blamed his actions on PTSD – from being stabbed as a teenager – and taking a cocktail of prescription medicine on the day of the shooting.

But a judge rejected the claims he made to a psychiatrist, when he said: “I can’t make any sense of it. I had no intention of harming anyone. They jumped on me.”

High Court judge Mr Justice Martin Spencer also rubbished the “bogus alibi” that Freeman originally put forward as his defence.

A police bodycam photo shows Freeman after he was disarmed Roberts and shot twice in the chest with his own weapon

Freeman was jailed for 14-and-a-half years after he admitted wounding with intent and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life


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Despite Roberts suggesting – contrary to medical evidence – that he now has a “full bullet” in his groin and he has seen it on an X-ray, the court heard Freeman came off significantly worse in the clash.

Roberts fled the scene with Freeman’s gun and on his electric bike, leaving the disarmed crook to stumble away from the pub in Page Moss – still being kicked at by a local.

During a trial, David McLachlan, QC, prosecuting, explained Freeman made it to a house in Barkbeth Road, Huyton, where a friend called him an ambulance.

Police arrived and took bodycam footage that showed Freeman with two bullet holes in his chest, blood pouring from his mouth, and a swollen and cut left eye, said to be from being punched and kicked.

The gunman was taken to Aintree hospital, where a CT scan revealed two bullets embedded in his chest that surgeons decided were too dangerous to remove – leaving him with one lodged in his lung and another resting permanently close to his heart. He later gave a no comment interview.

Freeman, pictured aged 18


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Roberts was found guilty of wounding with intent and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, and jailed for 12 years


Liverpool echo)

Both men were charged with attempted murder, but in the build-up to the trial, Freeman indicated he was willing to plead guilty to wounding with intent and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, which prosecutors accepted.

Roberts, from Page Moss but now of Heyes Street, Everton, ran a trial, claiming as he had since his police interview that he acted in self-defence.

He was acquitted of attempted murder after a five-day trial, in which jurors watched footage of him and his partner Chloe Price walking over from McDonald’s to the Princess Drive pub at 8.17pm, where they were standing on a patio area when Freeman struck.

Jurors rejected Roberts’ claim that after taking hold of the pistol, he shot Freeman because he thought he might be reaching for a second weapon in his pocket.

The incident happened on May 17, the day after pubs reopened following Covid restrictions

They unanimously found him guilty of the two charges his rival had admitted.

Freeman, of Pennard Avenue, Huyton, has five previous convictions for seven offences, including possessing a loaded gun when he was just 17.

His DNA was found on an 8mm Bruni semi-automatic pistol, which had nine live rounds inside, with a tenth inside the gun’s chamber, in Huyton in 2015.

He later skipped bail and fled via Eurostar train from London to Calais, then traveled to Spain, before flying back from Malaga to Liverpool in 2016.

Freeman – who claimed he had “panicked” – was locked up for three years and five months for those offenses in April that year.

At 21, he was caught by police with a lock knife in Hillside Road, Huyton, in August 2019 and he has also been convicted of possessing cannabis.

Freeman is seen on CCTV approaching the pub on an electric bike before the shooting

Andrew Radcliffe, QC, defending, said Freeman had written a letter expressing his remorse and knew he would spend “a significant part of his youth in prison.”

He said Freeman was highly “intoxicated” at the time of the shooting because he was self-medicating with prescription drugs benzodiazepine and tramadol.

Mr Radcliffe said his client told a psychiatrist “had he been sober, had he been thinking straight, all this would never have happened”.

He said Freeman didn’t suggest “for a moment” that he hadn’t had the intention to commit the offences, despite a comment he made to the psychiatrist Dr Matt Appleyard, and what he meant to say was he wouldn’t otherwise have put himself in that position.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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