IT was the murder that shocked a Glasgow housing estate.

A young father, Jamie Lee, shot dead in broad daylight in a children’s play area in Ballantay Terrace, Castlemilk.

A huge brawl involving around a dozen members of the rival Lee and Owens families had taken place that warm Saturday evening in July 2017.

Glasgow Times:

Six men including the murder victim were left sprawling on the ground having been either shot, stabbed or beaten.

Twenty-three-year-old Jamie and his father, Joseph Lee, 62, had both suffered serious gunshot wounds in the ensuring fracas.

Mr Lee had tried to intervene and was not involved in the initial battle.

Jamie – who had only become a father weeks earlier – died from his wounds the following day at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital after his life support machine was switched off.

His father had been detained overnight at the same Glasgow hospital, but his injuries were not so serious and he was released.

The four other men were also treated there and later released.

Glasgow Times:

Detectives flooded the Ballantay Terrace area over the next few days in an effort to identify the killer and others involved in the violence.

Locals whose homes overlooked the play park were able to provide eyewitness accounts, including children who were playing there at the time and who were then forced to flee in terror.

Police were told that the fight had been pre-arranged to settle a feud by the two warring families.

The fight had initially taken place at the junction of Ballantay Quadrant and Hoddam Avenue before spilling into nearby Ballantay Terrace.

One resident said at the time: “It was like something out of the Wild West – with two gangs fighting it out in broad daylight.

“Most had knives, machetes and batons but one went a step further and brought a gun.

“It’s absolutely sickening that kids have been forced to witness this.”

Detective Superintendent Allan Burton who was leading the murder investigation told reporters: “This is clearly a worrying incident for local residents, but I want to assure people that this level of violence in our communities will not be tolerated and we will be using every available resource to arrest those responsible.

“The men involved are believed to be known to one another and sought each other out in targeted attacks.

“The end result has been a young man losing his life.”

Police quickly identified a prime suspect for Jamie’s murder – local man Jordan Owens – but he had gone on the run and disappeared without trace.

He and Jamie had been good pals, but that relationship had soured due to the feuding families.

It appeared that Owens was now travelling on a fake passport and being provided with safe houses and money by members of an organised crime group, said to be led by two brothers from nearby Rutherglen.

Extensive enquiries were made in Ireland, London, Spain, the Netherlands and Tenerife but without success.

A European arrest warrant was then issued, and his photograph and name released to the public.

People were asked to contact police if they saw Owens but urged not to approach him.

During this time Owens featured on BBC’s Crimewatch as one of Britain’s Most Wanted, while Crimestoppers offered a £5000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

A year after his murder, Jamie’s partner Laura Ward, 23, and mother of their son Jae, revealed she had watched paramedics desperately try to save his life following the shooting.

Laura said: “His mum called to say something was going on and I rushed out of the house.

“The first thing I saw was Jamie being resuscitated.

“I remember trying to get to him and that’s the image that always comes back to me – Jamie lying there and that feeling of just knowing it was him.”

In the same interview, Jamie’s mum Anne Francis, 44, recalled how she cradled her son as she waited for paramedics to arrive.

Anne Francis said: “It was chaos when I got to Jamie. There were all these people with masks on and it was so surreal.

“Everyone scattered when they heard a gun had been fired.

“I had Jamie, and he was trying to get his clothes off and he was saying he was too hot.

“I said ‘focus on my face and keep talking to me’.”

Glasgow Times:

After he was taken to hospital the family were told that Jamie could lose his legs and had also suffered brain damage.

They finally accepted that his life support machine had to be turned off.

Owens was eventually detained in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, in December 2019, before being extradited back to the UK the following month.

He stood trial at the High Court in Glasgow in March last year, charged with Jamie’s murder and the attempted murder of his father.

The jury was told that the shooting was an escalation of a feud between the Owens and Lee families.

Phone images and video clips, taken by horrified local people, were shown to the jury of the fight and its aftermath.

One witness described spotting a man with a silver gun, then hearing four shots then seeing Jamie “stumbling and falling to the ground”.

Both his partner and his mum gave evidence.

Laura told the trial that on the night of the shooting Jamie texted her to say he had been in a “row” with Owens.

While Anne Francis said her son had also told her he was worried about what he might do to him.

After an eight-day trial Owens was convicted of murder.

He was also convicted of attempting to murder Joseph Lee, by shooting him on the arm the same night.

In July Owens was given a life sentence and told he must serve at least 23 years before he can be considered for parole.

The trial judge Lord Beckett told the 27-year-old that the murder appeared to be “premeditated” as he had the “resourcefulness” to arm himself with a gun and bulletproof vest.

Lord Beckett added: “This was your battle that you chose to escalate by shooting and murder.

“Jamie Lee lost his life in his early 20s. His family have had to suffer his loss and his child will grow up without his father.”

Owens showed no emotion as he was taken down to begin his life sentence. However, relatives shouted “love you!” as he was led to the cells.

Meanwhile Jamie’s family hugged each other in the courtroom.

In the aftermath of the conviction Detective Superintendent Raymond Brown of Police Scotland said: “Owens’s actions on that night in 2017 were reckless in the extreme. He caused the death of a young man and put the lives of others in danger.

“He will now face the consequences of his actions.

“While this does not change what happened, I hope this verdict will bring some closure to Mr Lee’s family and friends.”

For the Lees, Jamie’s murder was the second violent death of a family member.

His cousin, 10-year-old girl Christine Lee, had been raped and strangled as she walked the short distance home from her grandmother’s house in Ballantay Road in February 1990.

Her battered body was found under bushes in water in a notorious area of parkland known as the Pond.

Local man 19-year-old John Dowling was later arrested and stood trial at the High Court in Glasgow that year where he was found guilty and sentenced to life.

It also emerged there had been other prosecutions linked to the feud between the Lees and the Owens.

In September 2018, Gerald Gavan was jailed for 11 years at the High Court in Glasgow for attempted murder after he injured six children, while trying to run down a male member of the Lee family in his car.

He hit the man on the pavement then carried on into the children who were standing innocently nearby.

When attempting to flee the scene, Gavan then reversed into a 14-year-old girl, who suffered a broken neck and needed surgery.

Following his conviction, Owens’s legal team lodged an appeal against the length of sentence.

They claimed that trial judge Lord Beckett failed to consider Owen’s youth and immaturity, at the time of the murder, when setting the minimum term of his life sentence.

But Lord Matthews said in his written ruling: “These were minor factors in the judge’s overall assessment.

“The use of a firearm to commit murder will be visited by severe penalties.”