Gangland enforcer who threw acid over man and plotted attack in Blackpool sentenced to life in prison

A gangland enforcer who launched a horrifying acid attack on a man and plotted to blind other victims has been sentenced to life behind bars.

By Sean Gleaves
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 3:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 4:19 pm

Jonathan Gordon, who charged £6,000 to commit an acid attack and £10,000 to blind his victim, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday (June 15)

The 34-year-old was sentenced to life in prison with Judge David Aubrey telling him he must serve a minimum of 24 years and eight months.

When Gordon, who is from Kirkdale but of no fixed abode, is eventually released he will spend his life on parole.

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Describing Gordon’s acid attack as a “truly wicked act of barbarity,” the judge told him: “You have reached the depths of inhumanity.”

When did the first attack take place?

Gordon took instructions from an unidentified boss of an organised crime group (OCG) on the encrypted communications platform EncroChat.

On April 14, 2019, he nearly permanently blinded his first victim by throwing a container of acid in his face.

Jonathan Gordon charged £6,000 to commit an acid attack and £10,000 to blind his victim (Credit: National Crime Agency)

Gordon lay in wait for the victim who emerged from his home in Milton Street, St Helens, to get a charger from his car.

The victim managed to get back inside his house and doused his face with water but was left temporarily blinded.

He regained partial vision in one eye months later after extensive medical treatment and identified Gordon at an identity parade.

How was the victim affected by the attack?

Dylan Johnston (Credit: NCA)

In a heart-rending victim impact statement, the victim described the terror and agony of the attack.

He said: “My skin felt like jelly. As I washed my face it felt as if my skin was falling off my face. My eyes and skin continued to burn and I was in agony.”

Speaking of the devastation on his life, the victim said he was “left in a world of darkness, depression and dependency”.

He said: “I thought first about my family.

Stephen Wissett (Credit: NCA)

“They needed me, but I couldn’t support them in the state I was.

“I worried that I would forget my children’s faces. I thought about the fact they would age and their faces would change, but I would only ever know them as children.

“I accepted I would never be the father they deserved. I’d never be able to drive them anywhere. I’d never be able to see them play their football matches.

“I’d never see their school play. They would bring me paintings and drawings home from school and I would pretend I could see the picture in front of me.”

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What other attacks did Gordon plot?

EncroChat was taken down in 2020 with international law enforcement able to access messages criminals had sent.

Previously encrypted messages showed Gordon – who used the handle Valuedbridge – was a member of the Deli Mob in Liverpool.

He planned a second acid attack on a man in Blackpool – with his paymaster declaring the victim “needs a good litre on him” – and a third attack in Warrington.

The Blackpool attack was cancelled because it was scheduled during the first lockdown while the roads were quiet and the offenders were worried about police spotting their stolen car.

The proposed Warrington attack saw Gordon and his accomplices, Dylan Johnston and Stephen Wissett, drive a stolen Ford Fiesta to the property of a man they planned to throw acid on.

They abandoned the attack on April 6, 2020, after spotting the house had CCTV and decided to return the next day in disguise.

But the next day, the three offenders were approached by patrol officers in Liverpool and ran off, with police seizing the stolen car.

Forensic examination found Wissett’s DNA on a Lucozade bottle, the steering wheel and a pair of gloves.

Johnston’s DNA was also found on another pair of gloves.

The crime boss was undeterred by the failed bid and wanted Gordon to go back and “double the dose” and “cook” the intended victim with acid.

Police and NCA investigators discovered through EncroChat messages that a grenade had been left in the front garden of the Warrington house.

NCA officers arranged for the bomb squad to conduct a controlled explosion on the grenade on April 14, 2020.

The OCG consequently paused the acid attack because it was obvious law enforcement had become involved.

Gordon still discussed the planned acid attack, telling his boss: “He getting blinded, bro.”

EncroChat messages also showed Gordon had been involved in a street gunfight in January 2020 with an unknown man, telling his boss he “let off a clip in the street”.

Gordon was also involved in another gun fight with an unknown attacker in Carisbrooke Road, Liverpool, on May 25, 2020.

A man had approached him on an e-bike and they exchanged fire, with a bullet from Gordon's handgun going through the bedroom window of an elderly couple's house.

Gordon was also involved in a plot to shoot up a property in Reaper Close, Warrington, on March 20, 2020.

Phone records linked the two men calling each other in the minutes after the attack.

Forensics also proved the bullets came from the same gun involved in the Wilburn Street shooting.

Judge Aubrey said he was satisfied Johnston pulled the trigger during this attack.

What were their sentences?

Gordon and Johnston were found guilty by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court in May 2022.

Wissett, of Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, but no fixed abode, had already admitted conspiracy to commit GBH – he was part of the team planning to throw acid in the face of the target in Warrington.

On June 15, Johnston was jailed for 27 years and will serve a minimum of 18 years before being eligible for parole.

Wissett was sentenced to 12 years and six months and would have been sentenced to 17 years and six months after trial.

Ben Rutter, NCA Operations Manager, said: “Gordon caused life-changing injuries to one victim who has suffered an unimaginable physical and mental ordeal.

“The victim’s bravery in helping with our investigation was crucial to seeing Gordon locked up today.”