Jealous thug shot man after flying into rage at ex’s ‘gender reveal’ party

A jealous ex who shot a man in the street following a bust-up at a 'gender reveal' party, has been jailed for 21 years and three months.

The party was being held by Aaron Ward's pregnant ex-girlfriend, who he has a child with, at the Harehill Tavern in Hattersley, Tameside.

The woman and her new partner were holding the function on November 17 last year to inform their families of the gender of their baby, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Ward, 26, was said to be 'unhappy' that he was being 'restricted' from seeing his daughter – and that her new partner had access to his child, reports Manchester Evening News.

He turned up to the party in a car driven by another man and confronted his ex, hurling abuse at her, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Ward shouted: "Where's your f*****g muppet boyfriend?

"He is dead."

"Watch, I'll be back in a minute," he added.

Before the shooting, windows had been smashed at the former girlfriend's home.

Ward's home was later targeted in apparent retaliation, the court heard.

The 35-year-old victim had gone to the pub after his brother became embroiled in the row.

There had been long standing animosity between Ward and the siblings' family, the court heard.

The car Ward was in returned to the pub a number of times before the shooting, which happened at 8.18pm.

Ward brandished the gun and told a group outside the pub: "You're all going to get it."

The man was shot in abdomen at close range as he walked towards the Renault Clio.

He was rushed to Tameside Hospital and later transferred to Manchester Royal Infirmary.

He refused to co-operate with police, but was said to have made a good recovery.

Ward was arrested in Blackburn on suspicion of attempted murder.

The gun has never been recovered, but forensic evidence showed the single shot was fired from inside the Renault Clio.

Ward was sat in the front passenger seat.

An exact motive for the shooting was unclear, prosecutor Martin Reid said, but it came after the victim became involved in an argument between Ward and the victim's brother.

The court heard Ward has an 'appalling' criminal record comprising 19 previous convictions, for offences of arson, robbery, battery and drug dealing.

In 2016, Ward was jailed for 18 months after helping a man who mowed down and killed an 11-year-old boy.

He was the passenger in a car driven by Henry Barker which hit Shahzaib Hussain, who was walking home from prayers in Ashton-Under-Lyne.

Barker, then 19, was jailed for eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, while Ward pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting his friend.

Defending, Keith Harrison said Ward had armed himself with the gun for his own protection.

"He didn't go there intending to shoot someone," he said.

"Partly motivated in fear for his own safety, misguided in the extreme, but that was his driving force."

Ward has expressed his 'severe regret and remorse', Mr Harrison said.

He revealed that Ward had been "slashed across the face" while in prison since the incident.

Ward, of Hattersley Road West, Tameside, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder on the day of a proposed trial.

Today he received an extended sentence of 21 years and three months, with five more years on licence, after a judge described him as a "very dangerous young man".

Sentencing, Judge David Stockdale QC said: "The shooting took place at close range, on a public road a busy street, where there were pedestrians present including children.

"Why you intended to kill him or why you shot him at all is far from clear.

"There was antagonism between the parties. This was an antagonism which had gone on for some considerable time.

"That he (made a good recovery) is frankly miraculous. It's a matter of pure chance that his injuries were not fatal."

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