A hitman behind a string of shootings has been jailed for life after launching a bottle of acid into a dad's face for money - leaving him with permanent injuries."Deli Mob" gang member Jonathan Gordon, 34, from Kirkdale, offered his services on the encrypted EncroChat phone network using the handle "ValuedBridge".
He was hired by an unidentified gang boss behind the handle "AceProspect" to carry out attacks on several enemies.The messages revealed how Gordon charged £6,000 for an acid attack, rising to £10,000 to permanently blind the victim.Gordon was identified as the man behind a devastating attack on Lee Deakin, from St Helens, who was targeted on 14 April 2019 as he stepped outside his home to get a phone charger from his car.
Mr Deakin remains in a constant battle to keep his sight, and even required emergency surgery this week due to complications from the attack three years on.Liverpool Crown Court heard as well as being convicted of the near-blinding of Mr Deakin, Gordon was also convicted of two plots to carry out similar attacks that were aborted at the last stage.
Judge David Aubrey, QC, told Gordon and his accomplice: "The offences for which you both fall to be sentenced are of the upmost gravity, some of them chilling in the extreme."Your trade was not confined to acid attacks, you had ready access to several lethal firearms and ammunition.
"That speaks volumes to your ruthlessness and callousness and inhumanity to man. Your complete disregard for the sanctity of life and fellow human-beings knows no bounds."That which you did or were seeking to do reached the depths of inhumanity. There is no mitigation."
Alexander Leach, QC, prosecuting, said Mr Deakin had hoped to attend the hearing, but his injuries meant he had undergone surgery again this week.
However, he read a harrowing victim personal statement penned by the victim, who described being thrown into a "world of darkness, depression and dependency".
He said: "I felt a splash of liquid on my face and my eyes burned, everything went dark, it burned my mouth and everything tasted like chemicals. All I could smell was an ammonia type smell, I knew I was in trouble."Mr Deakin found his way back into the house and blasted his eyes with water, as his girlfriend desperately called for help.
He said: "My skin felt like jelly. As I washed my face it felt as if my skin was falling off my face. My eyes and skin continued to burn and I was in agony."Mr Deakin added: “I worried that I would forget my children’s faces. I thought about the fact they would age and their faces would change, but I would only ever know them as children."
Gordon recruited violent thug Dylan Johnston and petty criminal Stephen Wissett, 27, who later admitted being in "way over his head".
The pair were told to drive a stolen Ford Fiesta from Kirkdale to Birtles Road, Warrington where Johnston would hurl acid at another man, however that plan was aborted when the pair spotted CCTV near the victim's house.Gordon, of no fixed address but from Kirkdale, denied any wrongdoing but was convicted by a jury of three counts of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm; two counts of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, and one count of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life.Johnston, also of no fixed address but from Ellesmere Port, also ran a trial but was convicted of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, and conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.
Judge Aubrey said Gordon's "extreme dangerousness" and lack of remorse meant a life-sentence was needed to protect the public.
Gordon was handed a minimum term of 24 years and eight months before any possibility of being released by a Parole Board.Ben Rutter, NCA Operations Manager, said: “Jonathan Gordon is a terrifyingly dangerous offender, he was totally unconcerned about blinding someone for money."
Wissett, of Ellesmere Port, was sentenced separately due to fears of conflict with the two co-defendants. Judge Aubrey sentenced him to 12 years in prison, of which he must serve two third before being released on licence.
Johnston, also of no fixed address and from Ellesmere Port, also ran a trial but was convicted of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, and conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.
He was hit with a lengthy extended sentence of 27 years in prison with an additional four on licence.