Police start shifting through those kids who were drunk and drugged up on Friday night to find those that had gone onto kill.
Two Police Community Support Officers had noticed one lad, 16-year-old Stephen Sorton, was missing a trainer when they stopped him. He’d lied and said it had come off while running. He is soon arrested.
Methodical, painstaking detective work, alongside several eyewitness statements, identify other key members of the gangs. Witnesses all agree there were around four or five main youths involved in the attack.
Within hours, nine are in custody.
“I decided to...get a map drawn of the street and draw on where Mr Newlove was. And then we got each individual who was involved to record on their individual map where individuals were stood at the time of the attack. And what was consistent in that was when we overlayed them all was the fact there were five youths stood round Mr Newlove.”
Detective Inspector Geoff Elvey
Three names keep coming up. All are known for either drinking or drug taking and for disturbances in the local neighbourhood. In addition to Sorton, they are Adam Swellings, 18, and Jordan Cunliffe, aged just 15-years-old.
After the attack on Garry, Swellings had gone home and admitted to his mother that he’d beaten a man up. She called the police. Swellings was at his father’s home in Crewe when the police came. He’d been watching the news and knew why they were there. Detective Inspector Geoff Elvey got the impression that Swellings ‘wasn’t really bothered about what had taken place.’
Basic checks reveal that Swellings had only just been released from custody on the day of the attack. The magistrates had had the opportunity to remand him for his assault on a police officer ten days before. Instead, they released him. One of the conditions of his bail was that he wouldn’t go to Warrington.
Swelling’s previous crimes included theft, robbery, criminal damage and assault. He had a reputation for being a violent drunk. He initially denies being involved but then changes his story. He says he landed just one punch and then did no more.
Sorton was said to have come from a decent family but was known for his ‘vindictive edge’. He had a previous police reprimand for assault.
“Sorton never admitted anything during the interview other than that he did find out there’d been an attack in the street. And he said he went out to investigate and render assistance while he was waiting for the ambulance and that’s how he lost his shoe.”
Detective Inspector Geoff Elvey
Eyewitnesses contradict his account. They place him at the scene of the attack and having taken part in the kicking. They say that’s how he lost his shoe. After he’s charged, Sorton admits his guilt to his mother.
Jordan Cunliffe was not only younger than the other two: He was smaller and weaker. He had made up for this by inviting gang members to use his home for drug taking. He had a conviction for shoplifting. He also denied being in the area. Eyewitness accounts, PCSO statements, CCTV footage and Zoe Newlove’s blood on his jacket contradict him.