A MAN accused of conspiring to rob a Newport shopowner denied having any knowledge of the intentions of his friend, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Scott Stephens, 23, of Tennyson Road, Newport, said he had driven Connor Harte to the Lifestyle Store in Birch Grove, Llanmartin, but did not realise Harte was in possession of either a real or imitation firearm or that anything illegal was going to happen.

The Argus reported how Harte 19, of Morden Road, Newport, confronted the owner of the store Christy D’Silva on July 5 last year but left empty-handed.

In his statement Mr D’Silva said Harte had pointed a black handgun at him telling him to put money in a bag.

Stephens is standing trial at Cardiff Crown Court alongside Ben Evans, 21 and Daniel Saunders 19, both of Malcolm Sargent Close, Newport.

All three are on trial accused of conspiracy to rob. They deny the charge.

Giving evidence, Stephens said that as he had driven past the shop in his car which was carrying Harte, Evans and Saunders, he had pulled over as Harte had said he wanted to get a drink.

He denied being any part of a joint enterprise to try and rob the shop and said he was only told by Harte of the attempt to rob the shop when he was driving him back.

He said he driven to Ringland and it was then that Harte confessed.

Stephens said he told him if he had, he should get out of his car.

But he added: "I didn’t believe him. I didn’t think he was serious. He was laughing about it."

The court previously heard all three defendants deny having any knowledge of Harte’s intentions.

Harte was recognised on CCTV by a police officer and was arrested at home on July 6. The three co-accused handed themselves in on July 9.