THREE eyewitnesses gave evidence from behind a screen yesterday in the second day of an alleged drive-by shooting trial.

They were giving evidence in the trial of four Newport men accused of conspiracy to murder.

Lewis Bridge, 23, of Nash Drive, Brogan Hooper, 21, of Feering Street, Ryan Battersby, 25 and Gary Rabjohns, 25, both of no fixed abode, 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 justice. They deny all the charges.

Witnesses told Newport Crown Court of hearing crashing noises before seeing a dark coloured 4x4 driving away from the scene.

Nathan Cox, said he saw the vehicle coming towards him just before 11.30pm.

He told the court he saw the driver of the 4x4 wearing a black ski mask over his face, with holes cut for his eyes and mouth. He said the car was large and either dark blue or black and was driving well over the 30mph limit and ‘erratically’, a statement disputed by the defence.

The defence also argued that the car described by Mr Cox is different to the car the prosecution claim was used in the attack, as it had a different number plate, did not have a spare tyre on the back and featured bull bars.

Ahmed Ali Shah, described hearing tyres screeching and said it looked like the dark, bigger car was ‘pushing or ramming’ the red car on to the opposite side of the road, causing it to mount the pavement and hit a telephone box and the Cross Hands pub’s wall.

The third witness, John Banner, told the court he had been sitting in his car on Caerleon Road, when he heard screeching and scraping noises followed by a thud. He described seeing a 4x4 coming up quickly behind him in his rear view mirror, going well above the limit and ‘zig zagging’.

Roger Griffiths, prosecuting, has told the court the three victims were travelling in a small red Ford KA when they were followed by a dark coloured 4x4 car before they were deliberately rammed and shot at, causing the Ka to crash into the Cross Hands Hotel.