Jonathan Gordon, 34, was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court today with Judge David Aubrey telling him he must serve a minimum of 24 years and eight months.
Firefighters injured after being called to incidents at Wigan’s abandoned mill
If he is eventually released, he will serve his life on probation.
The judge described Gordon’s acid attack as a “truly evil act of barbarism” and told him, “You have reached the abyss of inhumanity.”
Gordon, who is asking £6,000 for an acid attack and £10,000 for the blindness, took instructions from the unidentified boss of an organized crime group (OCG) on the encrypted communications platform EncroChat.
On April 14, 2019, he almost permanently blinded his first victim by throwing a container of acid in his face.
Gordon waited for the victim, who came out of his home in Milton Street, St Helens, to retrieve a charger from his car.
The man managed to get back into his house and poured water on his face, but he was blinded.
Months later, after extensive medical treatment, he regained partial vision in one eye and identified Gordon at an identity parade – but said his “health and recovery is on the brink of a knife”.
In a statement on the victim’s impact, he said: “My skin felt like jelly. When I washed my face, it felt like my skin was falling off my face. My eyes and skin kept burning and I was in pain.”
The victim spoke of the devastation of his life, saying he was “left behind in a world of darkness, depression and dependency”.
He said: “I thought of my family first. They needed me, but I couldn’t support them in my condition.
“I worried that I would forget my children’s faces. I thought about how they would age and their faces would change, but I would only ever know them as children.
“I accepted that I would never be the father they deserved. I would never be able to drive her anywhere. I would never be able to see them at their soccer games.
“I would never see her school play. They brought me paintings and drawings home from school and I pretended to see the picture in front of me.”
Gordon planned a second acid attack on a man in Blackpool – with his purser declaring the victim “take a pint on him” – and a third attack on a man in Warrington.
The Blackpool attack was canceled because it was planned during the initial lockdown, when the streets were empty and men worried police would discover their stolen car.
On April 7, 2020, Gordon, who is from Kirkdale but has no fixed address, directed Dylan Johnston, 27, and Stephen Wissett, 28, to drive a stolen Ford Fiesta to Birtles Road, Warrington and pointed acid at a man throw who lived there the property.
When they discovered the house was being monitored, they called off the attack and decided to return in disguise the next day.
But the next day, while in Liverpool, the three men were approached by police officers. Gordon, Johnston and Wissett ran away, but the car was impounded and the attack prevented.
The forensic examination found Wissett’s DNA on a Lucozade bottle, the steering wheel, and a pair of gloves. Johnston’s DNA was on another pair of gloves.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) launched Operation Venetic in response by UK law enforcement to the 2020 EncroChat shutdown
News revealed that Gordon was taking instructions from the unidentified crime boss, who was undeterred by the failed April 7 bid and wanted Gordon to go back and “double the dose” and “cook” the intended victim with acid.
NCA investigators – who work with Merseyside Police, Cheshire Police and the North West Regional Organized Crime Unit – discovered through EncroChat messages that a hand grenade had been left in the garden of the Warrington home and prompted bomb squad to locate one controlled Explosion to perform April 14th
The OCG interrupted the acid attack, but Gordon continued to discuss it, telling his boss, “He’s going to be blinded, bro.”
EncroChat messages also revealed that on January 24, 2020, Gordon had a street shooting. His mobile phone was in Wilburn Street, Liverpool, around midnight, and he sent a message to his boss saying he “did a clip on the street”.
News also revealed that Gordon was involved in another shootout on May 25, 2020. At 11.45pm a man on an electric bike approached Gordon and they fired, a bullet from Gordon’s Grand Power pistol going through the bedroom window of an elderly couple’s house on Carisbrooke Road, Liverpool.
As a result, Gordon told his boss on EncroChat that he had lost his Grand Power — and sent him a picture of a newspaper story about the shooting. His hand was in the picture and a fingerprint expert who compared the palm said it was Gordon’s.
Gordon was also involved in a conspiracy to shoot a property in Reaper Close, Warrington on March 20, 2020.
He and his accomplice Dylan Johnston, 27, organized a team to blow out the home’s windows in a drive-by shooting. Phone records showed the two men called each other in the minutes afterward.
The bullets came from the same gun used in the Wilburn Street shooting and Judge Aubrey said he was pleased Johnston pulled the trigger.
Gordon and Johnston were found guilty by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court.
Wissett, of Ellesmere Port but of no fixed address, had admitted conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm as he was part of the team planning to spray acid in the face of the target at Warrington.
Johnston has been in prison for 18 years and Wissett for 12 years and six months.