It was March 2005 and fire engine raced its way through the streets of Glasgow’s sprawling Easterhouse housing estate on the outskirts of the city.

The crew would wonder what they would expect to see when they arrived at the scene of the council flat blaze.

It should have been a routine call-out but it would prove anything but that.

What they wouldn’t have anticipated was a drug-fuelled maniac taking potshots at them with an air rifle and a two-year-old boy caught in the crossfire and later losing his life.

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Glasgow Times:

Petty criminal Mark Bonini, 27, had been placed on a ‘Drug Treatment and Testing Order’ to get him off heroin and back on the straight and narrow.

They were being issued at the time to repeat offenders in a bid to stop committing crimes to feed their habits.

As part of the attempt at rehabilitation, he had even been given his own flat in Cambusdoon Road in Easterhouse.

That night he had planned to watch the football on the television with his cousin.

However, the TV wasn’t working and Mark soon got bored and took some drugs and then some more.

At this point, he got hold of his air rifle a big powerful looking weapon.

He had adapted the gun by tightening the spring on the trigger which made it even more lethal.

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Glasgow Times:

Sitting at the open window on the first floor flat he began randomly firing shots at the street lights and then at the windows of flats across the road.

Then he got even more bored and high on drugs and began firing at a passing window cleaner and a woman.

At this point, the fire engine and its crew had arrived to put out the fire.

As they tried to do their job and bring the blaze under control Boninin began peppering them with shots hitting one of their colleagues Alan Lambert several times. Only his thick protective clothing save him from injury.

The firefighters could tell where the shots were coming from and alerted the local police.

The fire has also attracted the attention of a group of children who lived nearby.

Glasgow Times:

They included Brian McMillan, 13, and his two-year-old brother Andrew Morton.

Andrew took his surname from his dad, also Andrew, and Brian from their mother, Sharon. But they were as close as you could expect brothers to be.

Mum Sharon had asked Brian to get her some chips from the local chippy and he had decided to take Andrew, carrying him on his shoulders.

The toddler owned a toy fire engine and model firemen and had called out “fire brigade” when he saw the crew.

Brian took him over to get a better look little realising what would happen next.

While on his shoulders Andrew cried out “ouch” and when Brian put his hand to his head to see where it was sore it was covered in blood.

Glasgow Times:

Andrew’s older sister Sammy, then 10, also saw the attack on her brother and saw him go limp after being hit

When she reached them she could see there was was blood on Brian’s hands.

The firefighters tried to treat Andrew as best they could in his nearby home before an ambulance arrived on the scene.

They had found the toddler in the living room sitting on his father’s lap drifting into unconsciousness and encouraged the parents to keep talking to the child.

Andrew was rushed to the specialist head injuries unit of the Southern General on the Southside of Glasgow, now the QUEH, where they found a pellet lodged in the soft tissue of his brain.

The morning after the shooting Mark Bonini was arrested and taken to court where he was remanded in custody

He knew he was in serious trouble as the whole scheme was talking about the event of that night.

Bonini denied any involvement to the police but everyone knew it was him.

Neighbours told police they were fed up with him using the gun and taxi drivers had talked about being targeted.

Andrew died two days later, on March 4, when life support was turned off.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Bonini appeared in August that year at the High Court in Glasgow charged with murder.

He offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide, claiming it had been a tragic accident but that was rejected by prosecutors.

His cousin told the court that Bonini was high on drugs the night little Andrew was murdered.

Police later found cocaine, speed and a samurai sword in a search of the flat but not the gun used to kill Andrew.

The cousin confirmed that he had been taking random pot shots, then turned the gun in Brian McMillan’s direction

At one point he said to Bonini said:”Don’t shoot he’s got a kid in his arms.”

It was at this point that the fatal shot was fired.

The following day the cousin went to Easterhouse police station with his mother, an uncle and friend - who had also been in the flat - to give a statement about what they had seen.

He denied an allegation from Mark Bonini’s QC, the late Paul McBride, that he had waited a day before going to police because he had fired the gun himself and had taken it away to dispose of it.

Their grandmother also gave evidence and told of how the killer and his cousin went to the Barge pub in Easterhouse, where she worked, after the shooting.

The cousin told her that Bonini had shot Andrew but Bonini blamed the cousin and said he had shot him.

Their poor grandmother didn’t know who to believe.

The trial judge Lord Brodie told the jury that said they had the option of finding Bonini guilty of murder or the lesser charge of capable homicide.

After three hours they found him guilty of the former.

Mark Bonini was the first person in Britain to be convicted of murder with an airgun.

His defence counsel John Scullion described it as a “personal, but self-inflicted tragedy” for Bonini but added: “It is nothing compared to the ongoing and lifelong tragedy he has inflicted on the family of Andrew Morton.

Glasgow Times:

Mark Bonini was given life in prison and told he must serve 13 years before he can be considered for parole.

Lord Brodie described the murder as “wicked, depraved and deliberate”.

Those who had supervised his drug treatment stated that Bonini had neither the willingness nor motivation to kick his habit.

The judge also noted that his plea of guilty to culpable homicide was made on the first day of his trial and added: “The absence of a plea of any kind until the first day of the trial is not indicative of remorse.”

Lord Brodie also pointed out that Bonini would not necessarily be released after serving 13 years.

Andrew’s death resulted in calls for air rifles to be banned and his parents campaigned for 12 years for an “Andrews Law”

In 2017 the Scottish Government finally brought in legislation to control their use.

People now have to be over 18 and have a licence to own a gun.

Shops had to be licensed to sell them and it also became an offence to carry one in public.

Before the licence came into effect, a six-month amnesty was introduced to enable people with air weapons to either surrender them or apply for a licence.

Even though the punishment part of his sentence has long since elapsed, the judges words have proved prophetic.

Bonini remains behind bars 16 years later despite having applied for parole on a number of occasions.

In July it was reported that Andrew’s parents Sharon and Andrew had requested to be at any future hearing, to demand he be kept behind bars.

They believe his lack of remorse and reckless behaviour in modifying the gun, to make it more efficient, means he remains a danger to society.

In an interview in July where she talked about the possibility of Bonini getting parole, Sharon, now 51, said:” Andrew was little more than a baby and 13 years for the murder of a baby was never enough.

“It should have been 25. When your child dies before you, especially when the death is so violent and senseless, you don’t heal. You serve the life sentence.”