The 19-year-old gangster who fled police in stolen Range Rover, crashed it through a brick wall and told cops: “I do admit I am stoned”


A stoned gun thug smashed a stolen Range Rover through a brick wall and wrote off a woman’s car. Daniel Lawler, 19, joined 16-year-old gang boss Harry O’Brien in two ‘callous and cowardly’ shootings on an electric bike.

The pair fired into a family’s occupied living room and shot into another victim’s bedroom as part of a violent feud. Cannabis dealer O’Brien also launched a third shooting and a firebombing on a mum’s home. Last week he was locked up for nine years and eight months.

Lawler, now 21, has also been found guilty of being part of O’Brien’s firearms plot. He also admitted dangerous driving and handling stolen goods, the Liverpool Echo has reported.

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Liverpool Crown Court heard police in an unmarked vehicle spotted a black Range Rover at traffic lights on Green Lane, near West Derby Road in Tuebrook, Liverpool, at 1.40am on Wednesday, December 9, 2020. The Range Rover shot through red lights at speed .

Officers gave chase. The Range Rover accelerated towards a roundabout and turned left onto 20mph Lisburn Lane, where Lawler later confessed he was doing about 70mph.

David Temkin, QC, prosecuting, told the court: “The Range Rover approached a bend at the junction of Sandringham Road, but due to the excessive speed, it crashed through a brick wall, smashing through it and causing extensive damage to a parked car , which had to be written off. The cost of repair to the wall was over £4,000.”

Lawler, of Halewood Road, Woolton, jumped out of the driver’s seat and ran away, but was caught in a nearby garden. Officers noted he smelt strongly of cannabis and following a roadside test he tested positive for the drug.

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Checks revealed the Range Rover was on false plates. It had been stolen from Hatfield Land Rover in Riverside Drive in south Liverpool on November 2 that year and the loss to the company that insured it was £18,865. Lawler was arrested and taken into custody, where he refused to provide a blood sample. However, he told officers: “I do admit I am stoned.”

Harry O’Brien has been locked up

When interviewed, I have admitted driving the Range Rover knowing that it was stolen. Lawler said he had collected the vehicle at 3pm that day and was asked to drop it off, for which he would be paid. Lawler confessed he drove around in the car, after smoking cannabis. I have admitted I have driven dangerously.

Mr Temkin said: “He said that at one stage, he was ‘doing about 70mph’ and then lost control of the vehicle. He accepted that he had no driving license and no insurance.”

Lawler was previously fined and banned from driving for 12 months by magistrates in June 2021. That was for driving without a license, driving without insurance and failing to provide a specimen.

Mark Phillips, defending, said Lawler’s lack of maturity had contributed to his crimes, when he was still a teen, which was evidenced by his associates being 16-year-olds. He said: “I would also suggest that Daniel Lawler was a follower, not a leader.”

Mr Phillips added: “He is not a stupid young man, he has potential. He left schools with some GCSEs and he has a work ethic. He has been employed.

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“He recognises, and he stated this to the author of the pre-sentence report, that he has made poor choices, including association with the wrong people. Those associations have led to him being before the court, facing a significant custodial sentence.”

Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, said: “Does he now acknowledge his guilt Mr Phillips?” The lawyer said Lawler did.

Mr Phillips said his client hadn’t considered the impact of his crimes on his family, including his sister and father, sitting in the public gallery, and his mum and grandmother, who attended the trial.

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The barrister said the crimes were an ‘aberration’ for Lawler, who had no previous convictions, and was described in references by a builder who offered him a job as ‘well-mannered, polite and punctual’, and by a youth worker who had known him for nine years in similar terms, who said she was ‘shocked’.

Mr Phillips said Lawler became a dad at 19 and had been working six days a week to provide for his young son. I have suggested he could turn his life around and it was not a danger to the public.

Judge Flewitt disagreed, finding Lawler was a ‘dangerous’ offender. He said Lawler was ‘actively involved’ in the second and third shootings with O’Brien, of Buckland Street, Aigburth, when occupied homes in Sundridge Street and Beloe Street in Dingle were targeted on January 8 and January 20, 2021 respectively.

He told Lawler: “On both occasions you were either the driver of the e-bike or the gunman. Your willingness to commit offenses that create a high risk of serious injury or death, coupled with the content of the pre-sentence report, leads me to the conclusion that there is a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm occasioned by the commission by you of further specified offences.”

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The judge locked him up for eight years, with an extended two years on license. Lawler must spend at least two thirds of the term – five years and four months – behind bars, before he can apply for parole. He was banned from the road for seven years and four months.


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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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