NEWPORT SHOOTING TRIAL: Jury shown machete

First published in News

THE jury in the trial of four Newport men accused of a drive-by shooting, were shown a machete and a balaclava, as the prosecution began to close their case yesterday afternoon.

Lewis Bridge, 23, of Nash Drive, Brogan Hooper, 21 of Feering Street, Ryan Battersby, 25, and Gary Rabjohns, 25, both of no fixed address, 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 in Chepstow Road, Newport, on September 3 of last year.

Rabjohns is also accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

All four deny the charges.

Prosecutor James Wilson, presented to the jury the agreed facts between them and the defence.

Among these facts was that a machete had been seized by police, after being found in a front garden, as well as a balaclava-type garment found in a washing basket in Battersby’s home address.

Both items were presented to the court and shown to the jury.

The DNA of John ‘Jay Jay’ Phillips and Michael Wall was found on the knife. No gun residue was found on the balaclava.

In Hooper’s statement, read to the jury by the prosecution last week, 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.”

Last week, the jury listened to transcripts from police interviews with the defendants. Battersby told police: “I don’t own a black balaclava.”

He said he owned a black sock-like garment, for wearing underneath a motorbike helmet. He said that it didn’t cover the face and that he hadn’t worn it recently.

Other agreed facts included CCTV footage seized from Boots, in Chepstow Road and the phones of John Phillips and Shanice Francis, seized from when they were in hospital.

The prosecution will conclude its case this morning.

Proceeding.

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