Elle Edwards murder: Connor Chapman loses appeal against 48 year prison sentence

Senior judges concluded the sentence for Elle Edwards's killer was “severe, but not manifestly excessive”. Credit: Family photograph

The gunman who shot dead a 26-year-old beautician outside a pub on Christmas Eve 2022 has lost his appeal against his 48-year minimum life sentence.

Conor Chapman, 23, was convicted of murdering Elle Edwards, hitting her twice in the back of the head, when he fired 12 shots from a Skorpion submachine gun outside the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey, Merseyside.

Five other people were also injured in the shooting, with Chapman intending to murder two men - Jake Duffy and Kieran Salkeld.

Chapman appealed against his sentence length - but, at the Court of Appeal on 29 February, senior judges rejected his challenge.

Connor Chapman was found guilty of murder at Liverpool Crown Court. Credit: Merseyside Police

The Lady Chief Justice Baroness Carr, who considered the case alongside Mrs Justice May and Mr Justice Foxton, said they concluded the sentence was “severe, but not manifestly excessive”.

Baroness Carr said that in a bid for revenge, Chapman was “utterly indifferent to who else might be or would be killed or injured in the process”, adding it was clear on the night “many bystanders were present celebrating the holiday season” in the pub.

The judge said Chapman “killed a person with murderous intent” amid “intending to kill two more”, adding: “This was a case in which in his obsessive determination to take those two lives, (he) was willing to kill more and could so easily have done so.”

Mark Rhind KC, representing Chapman, told the court his sentence was “manifestly excessive”.

The barrister said the challenge was not seeking to “minimise the culpability of Mr Chapman or the seriousness of what he’s done”.

He said it was conceded it was an “extremely serious case” with “numerous aggravating features”, adding that, whatever the outcome of the appeal bid, Chapman would spend “decades in prison, perhaps his entire life in prison”.

Mr Rhind said: “As bad as this offending is, the court will in the future have to deal with more serious cases and a minimum term in this case of 48 years leaves no room those even more serious cases that do not require a whole life term.”

He also argued Chapman’s young age at the time of the offences provided a “small degree of mitigation” and said his was “not a case which involved a substantial degree of premeditation or planning”.

But Nigel Power KC, representing the Crown Prosecution Service, said the Court of Appeal “should be slow to interfere with the assessment of the trial judge who heard all of the evidence in this case”.

Rejecting Mr Rhind’s arguments, he said: “What we have is a man living a criminal lifestyle involved or associated with revenge attacks who immediately upon hearing of the location of people he was determined… to take out of the game, was able to act.”

The court heard that since Chapman’s arrest, there had been no firearm discharges in the Wirral, while discharges in Merseyside generally had fallen from 49 in 2022 to 23 in 2023 – the lowest figure for 20 years.

“Merseyside Police identify the circumstances and the sentencing in this case as having had a significant deterrent effect,” Mr Power said.

Chapman's trial at Liverpool Crown Court in 2023 was told the shooting was said to be the result of a gang feud on the Wirral, where there had been nine shootings in 2022.

At his sentencing last summer, Mr Justice Goose said what Chapman did “was as wicked as it was shocking”, adding the offender was a “highly dangerous man”.

Chapman was also found guilty of two counts of attempted murder, two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, as well as possession of a Skorpion sub-machine gun with intent to endanger life and ammunition with intent to endanger life.