FOUR Newport men accused of conspiracy to murder in an alleged drive-by revenge shooting appeared at Newport Crown Court today.

Lewis Bridge, 23; Brogan Hooper, 21; Ryan Battersby, 25 and Gary Rabjohns, 25, are each accused of conspiring to murder and conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm with intent to John Phillips, Shanice Francis and Michael Wall, during an alleged shooting on Chepstow Road in Newport on September 3 last year.

Rabjohns is also accused of attempting to pervert the course of pubic justice by writing a letter telling Bridge not to tell police who else was involved.

They appeared at Newport Crown Court this morning before Judge Justice Cox DBE. The court heard the alleged incident took place in retaliation after one of the defendants was robbed of drugs and money at his home two days previously.

At this morning’s hearing, the jury of 12 women and men were sworn in, before Roger Griffiths, prosecuting, opened the Crown’s case against the men.

The charges relate to shooting and crash which took place around 11.30pm on September 3.

Mr Griffiths told the court that it was the prosecution’s case that the three victims were travelling in a small red Ford Ka when they were followed by the defendants in a dark coloured Jeep car.

He said the prosecution will argue that the Jeep followed the Ka before deliberately ramming it once or twice, and firing a shotgun twice at the occupants of the Ka, and as a result the Ka crashed into the Cross Hands Hotel on Chepstow Road.

The Jeep and the shotgun used in the alleged attack have never been found.

He said: “Fortunately, no one was killed or seriously injured, although both Mr Phillips and Mr Wall had shotgun pellets embedded in their bodies.

“The prosecution say the occupants of the jeep are the defendants.

“There had been an incident in the late evening of September 1 when Brogan Hooper had been robbed by Mr Phillips and Mr Wall. It seems as a result of that incident it was decided there would be a revenge attack.”

During the alleged robbery on September 1, he said, Phillips and Wall allegedly stole cash and drugs from Hooper’s home using a firearm and threatening him with violence.

Bridge is represented by Sara Waters, Hooper by Andrew Morse, Battersby by Harry Bake, and Rabjohns by Paul Lewis QC, were all remanded in custody and will appear in court again on Tuesday, to hear evidence from the prosecution’s witnesses.