NEWPORT SHOOTING TRIAL: ‘I didn’t know there was a gun in the car’

A PASSENGER in a car which allegedly rammed another vehicle off the road before shots were fired at it, told police “I thought they were all dead”, a jury heard yesterday.

The jury at Newport Crown Court heard transcripts taken from the police interviews with the defendants following the incident on September 3 last year.

Two of the defendants have admitted being in the car and knowing one of the victims, the jury heard.

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 charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent against John Phillips, Shanice Francis and Michael Wall during an alleged shooting on Chepstow Road, Newport, on September 3 of last year.

Rabjohns is also accused with attempting to pervert the course of justice. All four deny the charges.

Hooper and Bridges told police they knew Mr Phillips – known as Jay Jay – as an “old friend” of Hooper’s and Bridges’ cousin.

In Hooper’s statement, read to the jury, he said: “On September 2, Jay Jay came to the estate with Michael Wall. I was on my own at the time and I told him to send Michael away.

[Phillips] was angry because he was told his missus was here. He searched the flat.”

Hooper went on to say Wall then entered the flat, waving a gun in his face and grabbing him by the throat. Cash and cannabis were stolen from the flat.

The next day, September 3, Hooper said he received calls about the day before.

He told police: “Someone called me saying Jay Jay’s on the estate looking for you with a machete. I was told he had a gun.”

Later that night he said he got into the back of a jeep and was joined by Bridges. Hooper said: “I was frightened. I didn’t know there was a gun in the car. I shouted, ‘Stop, what are you doing?’”

Bridges told police: “I wasn’t the shooter. I wasn’t the driver. I was just the passenger. I didn’t know anything was happening, I got in the car and that was about it. I just thought it was going to be a fight.”

Bridges told police he got into the back of the jeep and said it had chased the red Ford Ka up Chepstow Road before ramming it into the Cross Hands Pub.

He said: “I didn’t know what was happening until the gun got pulled out.

Then the red car got hit.

There was a shot fired.”

He said the car was in “bad shape”.

He said: “Nobody was moving. I thought they were all dead. I don’t want to tell you names because I’m scared for my mother’s safety. I wish it never happened.”

Bridges denied responsibility for attempted murder or being in possession of a firearm.

Neither Bridges nor Hooper named the others in the car.

Rabjohns answered no comment in 12 police interviews.

Battersby denied involvement in any murder attempts, saying he was at his girlfriend’s house with their baby on the night of September 3.

Proceeding.

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