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Police rapped over couple’s murder

A police force's failure to share intelligence contributed to the deaths of a couple at the hands of criminals, an inquest has ruled.

John and Joan Stirland were found shot dead at their bungalow in the Lincolnshire village of Trusthorpe on August 8, 2004.

Crime boss Colin Gunn, who had persuaded police to provide him with information, and two others were convicted of conspiring to murder the couple in 2006.

An inquest at Lincoln Crown Court heard that the shooting was a “revenge” attack after Mrs Stirland's son Michael O'Brien,shot Marvyn Bradshaw (22) dead outside a Nottingham pub in 2003.

The “criminal community” in Nottingham believed the bullet was meant for Mr Bradshaw's friend and Colin Gunn's nephew, Jamie. He died in August 2004 from pneumonia, six days before the Stirlands were murdered.

Yesterday a jury found that Nottinghamshire Police failed to share intelligence about the threat posed to the couple by Gunn's gang.

The unanimous verdict also found that BT operators contributed to the couple's death by passing on information about them to Gunn and his associates.

The jury recorded two verdicts of unlawful killing.

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