Aaron Watson was a talented young man who was about to start his “dream job”.
At the age of 27, his life was cut short by a brutal and senseless attack that followed a seemingly commonplace incident at a Leeds nightclub.
Aaron was shot in the stomach in the early hours of May 1, 2006, during a night out with his uncle in Leeds. He died eight days later.
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The rare bullet used in his murder was later linked to a series of shootings in the Moss Side area of Manchester, it has been reported.
Aaron, from Harehills, Leeds, died before learning he had secured a record deal with a London producer. It was his “dream job”, according to his devastated family.
In 2006, Aaron’s mother, Susan, opened up about her son and how he and his friend got the record deal.
“But someone committed suicide before they were told,” she told reporters.
Ms Watson said: “It’s been three weeks since we put my boy to rest.
“I know very well he’s gone, but every day I wake up feeling like I’m stuck in a nightmare.
“Aaron has spent his life chasing his dreams and the day Aaron was shot, he was told his dreams were about to come true.
“His friend had heard from a production company in London that had agreed to produce their music.
“He desperately wanted to tell Aaron and wanted to see his expression, but someone killed himself before we told him.”
A senior West Yorkshire Police detective told a press conference he believed Aaron’s killers were from Manchester.
Detective Superintendent Bill Shackleton said: “This young man was an innocent member of the public who was shot while at a nightclub with his friends.
“The nightclub was very busy with people from all over the country. In particular, we know there were a lot of people there who were from the Manchester area.
“A lot of people have already come forward but I think there is still more information to come from Manchester.
“There were a lot of people very close to Aaron at the time he was shot.
“These people may have seen the shooter or witnessed the shooting or may know who was responsible for Aaron’s murder. If you have any information, we need you to come forward.”
Aaron died after being shot in the stomach at the Creation nightclub in Cookridge Street on May 1, 2006. He was standing near the DJ station when he was shot.
Around 2,000 people had attended the club for an evening of garage music. Officers at the scene were attacked with bottles and rocks as hundreds of clubbers left the scene.
An inquest into Aaron’s death that he was shot after knocking down someone in the club.
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The inquest, held in Wakefield in 2011, found Aaron was confronted by a man who was with a group of other people after accidentally knocking him down earlier that evening.
Coroner David Hinchliff said it was ‘inconceivable’ that someone could be shot for something so minor, according to a Yorkshire Post report.
The coroner, who entered a verdict of unlawful killing, said: “The fact that a gun was used against Aaron in what was only a scuffle in a nightclub seems inconceivable in a society civilized, but it happened nonetheless.”
Aaron was in the club with his uncle, Shaun Claxton, who said they arrived around 11:45 p.m.
In a statement, Aaron’s girlfriend, Jodee Hanley, said he spoke about what happened while he was in hospital after the shooting.
“He said he went to socialize and see who was there and while he was doing that he bumped or stepped on a guy,” it was reported.
Aaron told him he had raised his hand to apologize but as he walked away he heard the man talking and he looked angry.
There was then a confrontation and the two men jostled. A shot was then fired by someone in the group.
The inquest heard from Shaun Claxton who provided a statement. He said: “As soon as I saw what was happening I heard a gunshot. I saw Aaron sitting on the ground and he was struggling to put his back against a wall.
“He said ‘I got shot at, guys shot at me’.”
A bullet had entered Aaron’s stomach and damaged organs and a vein. He underwent surgery and then appeared to recover before his condition worsened.
Aaron’s death is one of 89 unsolved suspected deaths or murders in West Yorkshire.
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