A SELF-TAUGHT gunsmith who converted a replica weapon used by the armed robbers who killed West Yorkshire policewoman Sharon Beshenivsky has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 11 years.
Grant Wilkinson, 34, of no fixed address, adapted guns which were later sold on and used in eight murders – and by the gang that killed PC Beshenivsky.
PC Beshenivsky, from Keighley, was killed on November 18, 2005, in a bungled robbery outside a travel agency. Although she was not killed by one of the guns Wilkinson adapted, one was fired at the scene.
Wilkinson was jailed at Reading Crown Court, where he was found guilty by a jury on Wednesday of supplying criminals, mainly in London, with his weapons – live-firing Mac-10 submachine guns.
Judge Zoe Smith, passing sentence, said: “The scale of this criminal enterprise is unprecedented in this country. The roll call of deaths and injuries is horrific. Some 30 to 40 of these weapons are still unaccounted for, and regrettably but doubtlessly, the roll call of death and serious injury will continue to rise.”
Wilkinson modified the weapons in the backyard of The Briars, a derelict house at Three Mile Cross, near Reading, which he rented out to tenants. The enterprise was based in two garden sheds – one a workshop, the other a sound-proofed testing house.