Gunshot death-threat target: ‘My kids could have been killed’

A WELL-known former Hucknall man says his children “could have been killed” when his car was blasted with a shotgun — days after police failed to inform him he had been the target of a death threat.

Ex-Hucknall Town footballer Gary McAleese (44) was driving along in Pinxton, Derbyshire at 8 pm when his vehicle was flagged down by two men.

Mr McAleese sped away after becoming suspicious of the duo. But one of the men pulled out a gun and shot out the back window of the car.

The father-of-seven said he would normally have been bringing his youngsters home from football training at the time of the gun-attack.

Fortunately, the football session had been cancelled and Mr McAleese was alone in the car.

One of the men who flagged him down started walking towards Mr McAleese with his hood up.

The ex-Hucknall dad jumped back into his car and drove away as the anonymous gunman fired twice

The terrifying ordeal has come to light after a formal investigation by the police.

It happened on Wednesday February 10 last year and was reported to Derbyshire police by Mr McAleese, who now lives in Alfreton.

But in September last year, the father-of-seven was shocked to discover that officers in a regional police unit had received the death threat, by telephone, six days earlier.

He said: “The police should have told me about the call. It’s just wrong. I could be dead.”

Mr McAleese made an official complaint, and an investigation was launched by the Nottinghamshire Police Professional Standards Directorate (PSD).

The PSD endorsed Mr McAleese’s complaint and concluded that officers failed in their duty by neglecting to inform him about the death-threat.

When the call was originally taken, an officer made notes but said there was no recording.

But Mr McAleese was provided with a tape by associates and it was played to his lawyer and the police.

In it, the caller says: “Tell Mr McAleese he is going to come to a sticky end — as in get his head blown off, I know that much.”

The person goes on to confirm the call is a death threat and signs off by saying: “That is what is going to happen.”

The call was handled by officers attached to the East Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team, which is part of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit.

Details were passed to Temporary Detective Inspector (TDI) Nicholas Allwood by two lower-ranked officers.

A complaint by Mr McAleese against the conduct of TDI Allwood was upheld but similar gripes against the other two officers were dismissed. TDI Allwood has since been given extra training, say the police.

As well as not informing Mr McAleese, the officers failed to notify colleagues at Derbyshire Police about the threat, the PSD inquiry concluded.

A report produced by the PSD into Mr McAleese’s complaint reads: “It is evident TDI Allwood took responsibility for the investigation and management of the threats to life, albeit with poor decision-making.

“There is no evidence that TDI Allwood acted with anything other than the best of intentions and, therefore, the matter is considered a performance issue rather than misconduct.”

The report states that it was “inconceivable” that Derbyshire officers were not notified about the threat because they were responsible for the ongoing investigation into the shooting.

“TDI Allwood’s rationale for not informing Mr McAleese was because it was possible Mr McAleese knew who the caller was and that he might take matters into his own hands,” the report adds.

“However, the European Court Of Human Rights Article 2 Right To Life must be considered above everything.”

When Mr McAleese made his initial complaint, it was referred to the national watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

It advised that a local investigation should be conducted by the PSD.

However Mr McAleese has now lodged an appeal over the findings and the case is again being looked at by the IPCC.

A police spokewsoman said that the original complaint by Mr McAleese was voluntarily referred to the IPCC and that it was “thoroughly investigated”.

No-one has been arrested or charged with the gun-attack on Mr McAleese’s car.