A NEWPORT man accused of taking part in an alleged revenge shooting in the city told a jury yesterday he had not met two of the co-accused before the trial.

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 the 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.

But Battersby told the court, although he has known Rabjohns since he was five, he had never met Hooper or Bridge before the court case started earlier this month.

He also denied any knowledge of Ms Francis and Mr Wall and said he had only briefly heard of Mr Phillips.

“I had heard of someone called Jay Jay (Phillips) but I didn’t know if it was the same person. I knew of him through friends,” he said.

Battersby said he was caring for his baby daughter on September 3, and was in contact with his friend Rabjohns to tell him he could not make it to the Celtic Manor to play golf as planned. Later, at about 10pm, he said he was watching the film Scarface at his former address on Elaine Crescent, in Newport.

His girlfriend Danielle Walters was upstairs caring for their daughter, he added.

He said any text messages exchanged with Rabjohns that evening and early into the early morning of September 4 were merely to make conversation once the film had finished.

He also said the first thing he knew about the alleged incident was on September 4, after he read about it on a social media website.

Earlier, Rabjohns’ former nextdoor neighbour told the jury she saw him at 11.25pm on September 3 outside his former home on Handsworth Street in Newport. Lesley Evans said she saw Rabjohns, who she said she has known he was seven, accept a takeaway meal from someone in a car.