NEWPORT SHOOTING TRIAL: Four guilty of murder plot
Updated 12:36pm Friday 6th June 2014 in Gwent news
SCENE: The crashed Ford Ka outside the Crosshands pub on the corner of Somerton Road and Chepstow Road in Newport
FOUR men were today found guilty of conspiracy to murder in a Newport street shooting.
They were arrested after two people were injured by gun pellets and rammed by a Jeep while travelling in a Ford Ka in Chepstow Road on September 3 last year, Newport Crown Court heard.
The Ford crashed into the Cross Hands Hotel and one of the victims John Jr Phillips needed a pellet surgically removed from the back of his head, the court was told.
Ryan Battersby, 25, of no fixed abode, Lewis Bridge, 23, of Nash Drive, Newport, Brogan Hooper, 21, of Feering Street, Newport, and Gary Rabjohns, 25, of no fixed address, had denied being involved in the murder plot.
The four were found guilty of conspiracy to murder by majority verdicts in respect of two victims, Michael Wall and John Jr Phillips, but cleared of the same charge in respect of a third person, Shanice Francis.
Meanwhile Rabjohns was found guilty by unanimous verdict of attempting to pervert the course of justice by writing a letter urging his co-defendant Bridge not to tell police who else was involved in the plot.
Judge Laura Cox DBE remanded the defendants in custody to be sentenced at Newport Crown Court on June 30.
Both Rabjohns and Battersby had denied being in the 4x4 Grand Jeep Cherokee on the night of the incident.
Bridge had admitted being in the car, but claimed he was unaware there was a gun in it.
Hooper had admitted being in the car, but declined to name those who were with him.
He also denied knowing there was a gun in the car or that the plan was to ram the Ka.
A jury comprising two men and 10 women started their deliberations on Monday after hearing evidence for a month.
Senior Investigating Officer, DCI Jon Evans said: "Today’s result sends a clear message to anyone involved in criminal activity in Gwent that you will be caught and you will face the consequences.
Catrin Evans, Head of the Crown Prosecution Service Wales Complex Casework Unit, said: "These four defendants took part in a reckless criminal act and it is pure chance that their lawlessness did not lead to a more serious outcome for the victims or indeed for other members of the public.
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