Possible 'Suicide by Cop' Motive for Mersey Gunman, Investigators Suggest

During a court hearing, it was suggested that the gunman who fired an AK47-style firearm in various locations across Merseyside might have been seeking "suicide by cop." Leslie Garrett, aged 49, caused widespread panic in Liverpool in January by firing the weapon at several places around the city. Although no injuries were reported, parts of the city were placed under lockdown as Garrett, a former security guard, carried out his actions.


Garrett, who has admitted to several firearms offenses, was scheduled to be sentenced, but the hearing was postponed after a psychiatric report hinted at his desire to be shot dead by armed police responding to the scene. Details of this potential motive were revealed in a "basis of plea," catching prosecutors by surprise.


According to court proceedings, Garrett fired shots at a newsagents in Norris Green, made threats, discharged his weapon outside the Showcase Cinema in Croxteth, and shot at a house on Malpas Road on the evening of January 3. Merseyside Police declared a major incident, noting it was the first time they had encountered such a situation.


Garrett was later apprehended at his residence. He claimed that he had agreed to look after "an item" and only discovered it was a gun and ammunition afterward. He alleged he held onto the items longer than intended because the owner was in custody. Garrett cited poor mental health as a contributing factor and admitted in his written statement that he committed the offenses with the intention of being killed by police at the scene.


His defence attorney, Paul Lewis, highlighted Garrett's limited history in the courts and mentioned that Garrett revealed his motivation while speaking with forensic psychiatrist Dr. Inti Qurashi. However, Judge David Aubrey KC pointed out that Garrett had previously described his actions as a "moment of madness" and "senseless" when asked for an explanation. The notion of "suicide by cop" was proposed by Dr. Qurashi rather than being Garrett's own assertion, according to the prosecution.


Prosecutors have requested an evaluation by their own psychiatrist before Garrett's sentencing, which has been postponed until June 6. Garrett remains in custody pending further proceedings.