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10-06-08, 08:22 AM #1
Shoot-out before stunned onlookers
It was a scene more reminiscent of a blockbuster Wild West movie than sleepy Chandler's Ford.
So few could believe it when, in broad daylight, a police Flying Squad supported by Scotland Yard's elite CO19 unit opened fire and shot dead two armed robbers as a gun was held to the head of a cash security guard.
The brief yet bloody shoot-out on an early autumn morning in 2007 stunned this prosperous Hampshire town near Southampton.
"I heard a bang followed by two more bangs and I shouted 'that's gunfire', said Malcolm Dawson.
Mr Dawson was working in the neighbouring insurance office on what had been a "normal morning" until then.
"I ran to the door and by the time I got out on the pavement, police were shouting," he told the BBC shortly afterwards.
"They had contained the situation and they tried to give one of the victims heart massage.
"For the rest of the day the police used our office as a command centre, so we could not get any work done."
Cars were compounded and the realisation of what had happened was just beginning to sink in.
Crowds gathered beside the cordons to stare on in amazement at what had just unfolded.
Wendy McQueen was inside the HSBC branch in Chandler's Ford, on that Thursday morning, when she and her daughter heard "a loud bang".
"We did not know whether there was a car backfiring or a crash," she told the BBC at the time.
"We rushed to the window and saw armed police and heard them shouting, 'get down, get down!' [at the suspects].
"It was then I saw one man was on the ground and they were pointing their guns at him.
"He was at the bottom of the steps of the bank and then I saw another man on the floor, further back, behind the van. It was horrendous."
For Mark Nunes' gang, Chandler's Ford was exactly the sort of location they targeted with prolific effect.
The gang led by 35-year-old Nunes looked for quieter parts of the south where they felt nine Londoners were less likely to be suspected.
These places included Gloucester, Swindon, Bristol, Bath, Colchester, Tilehurst in Berkshire, Cherry Hinton near Cambridge, and Chandler's Ford.
Mobile phone records showed that Nunes, Andrew Markland, 36, and the getaway driver Terry Wallace, 26, had been on reconnaissance trips to the main Chandler's Ford precinct twice before they decided to strike.
But the gang was under surveillance and when Nunes pulled a gun on a security guard he was shot dead.
Markland was then shot dead as he tried to pick up the weapon.
"I saw an unmarked police car come up and some guys in baseball caps got out and as they did so I heard three shots," said Juliette Hearn, who witnessed the events from her flat overlooking the precinct.
"Twelve years I've lived here, I've never heard of anything like this happening. "You see it on the news but you never imagine it could happen so close to home."
The only gang member to survive the shoot-out was Terry Wallace, 26, of Raynes Park, London.
Wallace, who was waiting in a stolen Volvo car, watched on in horror and immediately fled the scene, evading police.
He drove to Basingstoke railway station, dumped the car and took a train back to south London.
He was later caught on a police surveillance camera mimicking Nunes' dying moments.
On Friday he was one of four men found guilty at Kingston Crown Court of playing a part in the series of armed robberies across southern England.
Wallace, of Raynes Park, Adrian Johnson, 28, of Streatham Hill, Leroy Wilkinson, 29, of Streatham, and and Victor Iniodu, 34, of Tooting, were convicted of an 18-month campaign of up to 21 robberies on banks or cash box delivery guards, netting £500,000.
Prior to the start of the trial, three men - Leroy Hall, Leon McKenzie and Brian Henry - pleaded guilty to being part of the gang.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7637913.stm"all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" Edmund Burke.
"the world is a dangerous place place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who do not do anything about it" Albert Einstein
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