Rise and fall of baby-faced crime boss, 16, who firebombed mum

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The identity of a 16-year-old drug boss who orchestrated brutal shootings and sent a mum fleeing with her children in a cruel arson attack has been revealed.

Baby-faced Harry O'Brien controlled a "graft" line and gang of teen drug dealers who sold cannabis on the streets of Dingle, Liverpool.

But his lucrative trade was exposed when a feud with two families led to three shootings and a horrifying arson attack that saw a mum and her children run for their lives between December 2020 and June 2021.

The identity of O'Brien was hidden throughout the trial at Liverpool Crown Court but a judge agreed to lift restrictions so the public know who was responsible for bringing brutal crime to the city.

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The now 17-year-old was the "brainchild" behind a firebomb attack on the home of a mum and her three children were inside, the Liverpool Echo reported.

O'Brien sought help from a youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and enlisted Sian Kanu, then 19, and Mohammed Mohammed, then 19, to carry out the attack.

They poured petrol through the letterbox and set the property ablaze as the mum and her children ran for their lives.

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Liverpool Crown Court heard the attacks targeted members and associates of two families — the Franchettis and the Rosarios.

Two other attacks saw a stray bullet fired from an Audi at a BMW fly through the front door on an "entirely innocent" family's home and a gunman on a bike pepper a family's living room with bullets.

O'Brien recruited Michael McClean, then 16, and Aaron Donohoe, then 19, as his "lieutenants" who were given "managerial responsibility" over his drug trade.

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"Trusted" Daniel Lawler, 19, joined O'Brien in carrying out two of the shootings, which all involved the same Glock semi-automatic gun that was never recovered by police.

Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, said he had no doubt they were "the manifestation of a feud" between O'Brien's gang and others with "whom they had a real or perceived grievance, the nature of which has not emerged".

He said: "Unhappily, the lives of wholly innocent people, including young children, were put at risk by the callous and cowardly actions of all those involved."

Ahead of a trial, O'Brien admitted lesser offences of conspiring to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and conspiring to commit arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered. He had already admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis.

He was jailed for nine years and eight months with an extended three years on licence. He must serve at least two thirds of that sentence behind bars, before he can apply for parole.

Lawler, 21, of Halewood Road, Woolton, was found guilty of the firearm plot and admitted unrelated charges of dangerous driving and handling stolen goods. He was jailed for eight years, with an extended two years on licence.

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McClean, 18, of Upper Warwick Street, Toxteth, admitted the cannabis and firearm plots.

At trial he admitted two counts of possessing a prohibited firearm and possessing ammunition. He was sentenced to eight and a half years behind bars.

Donohoe, 20, of Bewey Close, Toxteth, admitted the cannabis and firearm plots, on the basis he was only involved in the first shooting. He was jailed for six years and four months.

  • Crime

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