Connor Brown murder trial day six RECAP: Court watches CCTV from across Sunderland as DNA expert analyses evidence

A DNA expert has said a knife found in the Sunderland lane where Connor Brown was attacked can be linked to one of the men accused of the killing.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 21st November 2019, 10:26 am

On the sixth day of the trial at Newcastle Crown Court, the jury looked at extensive CCTV footage from the hours before the disturbance early in the morning of Sunday, February 24, in an alley off Park Lane in the city.

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Connor Brown murder trial day six: Updates from court as trial of two men accuse...

Leighton Barrass, of Hartside Square, Hylton Lane Estate, and Ally Gordon, of Polmuir Square, Plains Farm, both 20, deny murder.

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The trial of Leighton Barrass and Ally Gordon, who deny the murder of Connor Brown, inset, continues at Newcastle Crown Court.

This is what happened during Wednesday’s proceedings, with the hearing expected to resume at 10am tomday.

Video footage helps create a timeline for jury

Extensive CCTV clips from the afternoon before the alleged murder has been shown to the court.

This showed Connor and his friends leave the Dolphin pub at 8pm after six hours, then head to a party at The Peacock in the city centre.

It then followed the group to P’s and Q’s and the Cooper Rose, before they headed for Gatsby’s.

Footage of Gordon showed him in the William Jameson, then the Gleneagles pub in Grindon, where he receives a phone call, and then the BP garage on The Broadway, where he meets Barrass.

Another series of clips showed Barrass in a pub with friends, before he goes on to the Grindon Club, where he gets in to a car and is driven to The Oddies.

After waiting together at the petrol station for a lift from a minibus, they arrive in Sunderland city centre.

The detective tasked with handling CCTV in the case, Detective Constable Mark Wedderburn, worked to put together a piece of footage which showed the fight in the lane from two angles, so they could be run side by side at the same time.

Footage afterwards then followed Gordon has he ran towards Stockton Road, while Barrass was apprehended by door staff, arrested by a police officer and then put into a van.

Other clips gathered video as the alarm was raised following Connor’s collapse in the lane.

DNA expert gives report on scientific evidence in the case

The second and last witness of the day was Mark Newell, who is a forensic scientist who specialises in DNA analysis, handling crime scene exhibits and interpreting blood patterns.

He told the court how he and his team of colleagues were sent a series of items to examine, as well as samples to test.

These included a knife which had the words “Joker, why so serious?” written on the side, which was recovered from the lane, and a £5 note found on the ground.

The laboratory also looked at a number of items of clothing seized from Barrass, including a pair of jeans, a blue coat and a red Hugo Boss polo shirt.

His blood and Connor’s was found on his clothing, with signs Barrass had been bleeding from his face.

The specialists went on to examine a knife seized from Gordon at his time of arrest, a pair of white Nike trainers, a white Hugo Boss baseball cap and a navy Lacoste tracksuit top and trousers.

Scientific findings given to jury as day of evidence comes to a close

Mr Newell’s conclusion stated:

*The Joker knife was used to injure Connor in a stabbing

*Barrass had handled that knife

*Barrass had contact with Connor while he was injured

*Gordon had interaction with Connor when he was hurt, however, as his trainers had been washed or cleaned, it was not possible to say if they had been used in a situation such as kicking

*Blood from Barrass was found in the lane

*Connor’s blood was found on the money.

Discussions between Jonathan Whitfield, who is representing Barrass, discussed with Mr Newell about how a knife can be used to cause an injury, but that the force of someone moving towards it can do the same, without any difference in the evidence that creates, as with the transfer of blood, which was agreed.