Brothers attempted to murder ‘robbery group’ in alleged revenge shooting in broad daylight, trial hears

Two brothers shot at an innocent man’s car in an attempted murder revenge shooting in broad daylight, prosecutors allege.

Daniel Whelan, 31, and Alex Whelan, 26, were both said to be violently attacked minutes before they got into Alex’s BMW X3 and ‘sought out those responsible’. Believing they’d found the offenders, they shot at the suspected car but missed and hit the car in front, a trial has heard.

The victim, a father out with his young daughter, was not injured but he later discovered a bullet hole in the back of his car, as well as the spent 9mm bullet in the boot, it was said.

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In messages later recovered from Daniel Whelan’s mobile phone, he said: “Am killing one of them…it started…someone dead…trust me”.

Daniel Whelan, who has admitted possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, and Alex Whelan, who has accepted being the driver, both deny attempted murder.

Alaric Bassano, prosecuting, said that on July 5 last year at around 6.10pm, Daniel Whelan was seen on CCTV on Great Gable Close, in Oldham, speaking with the occupants of a VW Golf. Over an hour later, at 7.30pm, Alex Whelan pulled up in the same car park in a BMW X3 before Daniel passed something from a white plastic bag to the occupants of the Golf, Mr Bassano said.

“Shortly thereafter someone in the Golf alighted the car and attacked Daniel Whelan, seemingly punching him in the face and robbing him of the white carrier bag,” he continued.

“They then turned their attention to Alex Whelan who was sitting in the driver’s seat of the BMW X3. One threatened and accosted Alex Whelan through the driver’s door window and others got inside the car to continue the assault and robbery.”

The court heard that the CCTV footage does not clearly show what happened inside the car, but Alex Whelan claimed he was assaulted and robbed, and later dragged out of the car and kicked before the offenders made off with a bag.

“Both defendants were attacked and robbed, seemingly without provocation. Both defendants no doubt felt extremely aggrieved by what had just happened to them. Both defendants left together in the BMW X3 car at 7.41pm: Daniel Whelan in the front passenger seat and Alex Whelan driving,” the prosecutor said.

The BMW is seen driving along Horsedge Road, appearing to be ‘seeking out’ the intended target, prosecutors allege. Minutes later driving in the same direction down the same road were a Peugeot and a Ford Focus: the Peugeot was being driven by a member of the public who was driving home with his daughter, jurors heard.

Horsedge Street, near the junction with Henshaw Street, in Oldham
(Image: Google Maps)

Moments later the BMW drove back onto Horsedge Street in the opposite direction before making an ‘abrupt stop’ as the other two cars slowed down ahead of the junction.

“The BMW stops suddenly before Daniel Whelan gets out of the car and fires a shot at the Ford Focus,” Mr Bassano told jurors.

A 9mm bullet casing was later found by crime scene investigators. The owner of the Peugeot was initially unaware that his car had been hit, but did tell police he had heard a ‘loud bang’ as he approached the junction, it was said.

The following day he noticed a hole in the boot of this car, along with pieces of metal later analysed to be fragments of a 9mm impact-damaged bullet, the court heard.

After the shooting, the brothers’ BMW was driven around the block before it was met by a second BMW. The two cars were then driven in convoy to a nearby Screw Fix where the BMW X3 was abandoned, it was alleged.

They were then both driven away in the other car by their brother Stephen, prosecutors claimed.

Both men were arrested a few days later, with Daniel Whelan opting to give no comment in his police interview. Alex Whelan submitted a prepared statement in which he said he had been the victim of a violent robbery, he had no knowledge that his brother was in possession of a firearm and he was not in any way responsible for what the gunman did, the court heard.

The prosecutor said that whilst Daniel Whelan accepted firing the gun, he denied intending to hit anyone, rather he was intending to ‘intimidate’ others. The Crown alleged that messages recovered from his mobile phone just an hour-and-a-half after the shooting suggest that he was ‘harbouring an intention to kill’.

The brothers are on trial at Manchester Crown Court
(Image: MEN Media)

In a conversation thread on messaging app ‘Signal’, it was said that Daniel Whelan said “Am killing one of them…it started…someone dead…trust me”.

“When the other participant to the conversation suggested that Daniel Whelan was engaging in foolish talk in drink, Daniel Whelan replied “Real talk bro…been coming for time this…trying to test us…they will see bro”.” Mr Bassano summarised.

Prosecutors allege that Alex Whelan ‘knowingly participated’ in his brother’s offending as part of a ‘joint criminal enterprise’.

“The Crown submits that an appreciation of the Whelan brothers’ status as joint victims in the immediate prelude, an analysis of Alex Whelan’s driving and stopping of that car before and at the time of the shooting, and a common sense assessment of the true interactions between them whilst in that car together, should lead you to conclude that Alex Whelan was knowingly and criminally involved, sharing his brother’s intentions and assisting his brother to commit this crime,” Mr Bassano said.

Daniel Whelan, of Unsworth Way, and Alex Whelan, of Great Gable Close, both deny offences of attempted murder and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent; and Alex Whelan denies possession of a firearm with the intent to endanger life.

The trial, at Manchester Crown Court, is expected to last for around five days.


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