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Brief history of Gunn Crime

1 February 09 words: Jared Wilson

An overview of the criminal careers of Bestwood Cartel leaders and 'Godfathers' of Nottingham gang crime, Colin and David Gunn

Colin and David Gunn

Colin and David Gunn, the infamous Nottingham crime brothers

Read our interview with Hoods author Carl Fellstrom

Colin and David (born in ‘67 and ‘65) are children growing up on the Bestwood estate.

The duo quickly become feared by other pupils at Henry Whipple Junior School and known as bruisers in the playground.

Pupils at (the now defunct) Padstow Comprehensive School. As teenagers they appear in a local church magazine, which praises their crime-busting heroics when they apprehend a street robber and hand a woman her purse back. But behind the scenes they are building up a crime network that will later become known as the Bestwood Cartel.

Early 1990s
Both are in their mid-twenties at the start of the decade and steadily clocking up minor convictions for burglary, theft, handling stolen goods and violence.

The Bestwood Cartel are now running a large-scale operation which spans money lending, burglaries, extortion, robbery, drugs, car ringing and fraud. Colin is known to enforce his leadership with extreme violence. There are stories of him nailing people’s hands to tables and taking to knuckles with a hammer or baseball bat. At the same time their PR in Bestwood is exceptional and to this day residents still talk about a firework show they organised one year or the £100 they left in an old lady's birthday card.

October 1998
Colin and a few friends are arrested for brutally beating a guy senseless outside the Astoria (now Ocean) near the back of the Broadmarsh centre. But the CCTV surveillance tapes mysteriously go missing. The victim pursues GBH charges, but without evidence Colin only gets a few hundred hours' community service and gets an imposter to complete it for him.

27 November 1998
David is imprisoned for grievous bodily harm and threats to kill Keith Copeland after a fight in a pub. He is sent to prison for four years and nine months.

Colin is a reliable informant to Nottingham police. His reputation as a provider of good information is such that he is trailed by an officer with a National Crime Squad background and begged to sign up on the official register. But his links with police are self-serving as it helps to bring down rivals and extend his patch. He is also using lots of cocaine and steroids and the two drugs together are like a timebomb.

30 August 2003
Marvyn Bradshaw is shot dead outside the Sporting Chance pub in Bulwell. It is believed the intended target of the attack was his best friend Jamie Gunn (nephew of Colin and David, pictured right), who was in the back seat. Jamie is inconsolable.

30 September 2003
Marian Bates is shot dead in her jewellery store in front of her husband and daughter. James Brodie and Peter Williams had burst in wearing motorcycle helmets and attempted to rob the place, but it didn’t go as planned. Williams is later jailed for 22 years and Brodie has not been seen since. According to accounts from informers, he was shot, his head and hands were chopped off and his body fed to pigs on a farm in north Nottinghamshire.

Jamie Gunn, the tragic son, and Charles Fletcher, the clean skin.

12 July 2004
Michael O'Brien is jailed for life for the murder of Marvyn Bradshaw. As the judge read out the sentence, O’Brien threw water and spat insults at Mr Bradshaw's family and taunted Colin Gunn, who was sat in the gallery during the trial, shouting "There's one coming your way."

2 August 2004
Jamie Gunn dies of pneumonia, following eleven months of depression and drug use following the death of Bradshaw. His funeral is attended by thousands of mourners, including most of Bestwood. Colin is inconsolable over the death of his nephew.

8 August 2004
Joan and John Stirland are shot dead in their bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast. Joan Stirland was the mother of Michael O'Brien and many believe it is a revenge attack by the Gunns.

January 2005
Police intelligence on the secret operations of the Bestwood Cartel goes missing from a car and finds its way to Colin.

17 March 2005
Colin and several other men are arrested by Nottinghamshire police on suspicion of murder.

30 Jun 2006
Colin Gunn, Michael ‘Tricky’ McNee and John Russell are all jailed for life (35 years) for conspiracy to murder Mr and Mrs Stirland.

 1 July 2006
Gunn's supporters riot in Bestwood, with around thirty people setting fire to cars and causing £10,000 worth of damage.

13 October 2006
David Gunn goes to prison on Amphetamine possession and supply charges, after a trial at Derby Crown Court.

26 October 2006
Former trainee Police detective Charles Fletcher (pictured right)  is jailed for seven years for corruption. In court it is said that he was recruited by Colin personally, before he joined the boys in blue, and placed into the force as a 'clean skin'. Alongside him fellow former policeman Philip Parr is jailed for twelve months for conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

4 November 2006
Several people are jailed for their part in the Bestwood riots earlier in the year.

January 2007
O'Brien's friend, Gary Salmon, is jailed for life for his part in the Marvyn Bradshaw murder.

August 2007
Colin is convicted of encouraging police corruption in the case of Charles Fletcher. He is given another nine years which will run concurrently with his life sentence.

April 2009
David Gunn is due for release from prison.

Read our interview with Hoods author Carl Fellstrom

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