A fourth man has been arrested over the murder of a Southport man who was gunned down inside his own house.

Stephen Maguire died in hospital after being shot at his Guildford Road home late on March 16 while his partner and step-daughter were inside the house.

Emergency services were called at around 11.35pm after a mask gang stormed into the house and the 27-year-old was taken to hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

In May, three men were arrested and charged in connection with the murder. Karl Corson, 27, of Columbine Close, Melling; Jack Higgins, 21, of Waresley Crescent, Fazakerley; and Ryan Smith, 21, of Colquitt Street, Liverpool city centre, were then charged with murder, two counts of kidnap, possession of a firearm, possession of ammun­ition and robbery.

According to the charges, they murdered Mr Maguire and robbed him of an orange KTM motorbike, a green Kawasaki motorbike and a red Honda motorbike.

They are accused of kidnapping a teenage boy and a 19-year-old man on the same date as the shooting, who were allegedly “unlawfully and by force or fraud took or carried away” against their will. The charges also allege that the defendants were in possession of a pistol and 9mm ammunition.

The three men appeared at Liverpool Crown Court in June via video link from HMP Altcourse and pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.

They are all due to stand trial in November and in a major update, detectives arrested a 34-year-old man from Liverpool on suspicion of murder on Tuesday.

Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Wilson said: “We have arrested a fourth man in connection with the murder of Stephen Maguire today, which is another positive step forward in seeking justice for Stephen and his family.

“Despite this arrest, an extensive investigation remains ongoing and we are still keen to speak to anyone with information on this brutal crime.

“Enquiries are still ongoing to trace a dark coloured Mercedes seen making off from the scene of the crime in the direction of New Cut Lane. If you saw, heard or captured any images of this vehicle, be it the smallest detail, please get in touch.”

After the shooting, Mr Mag­uire’s family issued a tribute to the dog-loving son and brother.

In a statement, issued through Merseyside police, he was described as a “protective” and “devoted” to stepdaughter Keisha.

They said: “Stephen was adored by his family and friends.

“He was a loving son to his mother and father and an amazing brother to his two brothers and three sisters.

“Stephen’s unconditional love for his dogs was well known and they were never from his side.

“He would do anything to protect his family and friends, without a second thought for himself.

“Stephen was a selfless person who wouldn’t hesitate to offer help to anyone, whether family, friends or complete strangers.”

His partner, Megan, added: “Stephen was the most caring and loving boyfriend. Not only that, he was my best friend.

“He was a devoted stepdad to Keisha who gave the best cuddles, and will always be loved and remembered as an amazing man.”

Anyone with information is asked to submit information via the UK Police Major Incident Public Reporting Site here. Alternatively contact charity Crimestoppers, anonymously,  on 0800 555 111 with reference 20000166174.

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