Connor Brown murder trial day six: Updates from court as trial of two men accused of murdering Sunderland teenager continues

Connor Brown was just 18-years-old when he was stabbed and killed in Sunderland city centre on a night out in February of this year.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 3:37 pm

Two men, Leighton Barrass, of Hartside Square, and Ally Gordon, of Polmuir Road, both 20 are standing trial at Newcastle Crown Court charged with murder.

The trial continues and today marks day six where CCTV footage has been shown in court.

Please refresh the page for updates from the hearing.

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Two men are on trial at Newcastle Crown Court charged with the murder of 18-year-old Connor Brown

3.35pm: Today’s hearing has been adjourned

The trial will resume on Thursday, November 21 from 10am.

3.05pm: The jury has left the courtroom

The court has been told that the rest of the day may be taken up by legal arguments.

3pm: Andrew Fisher, who is representing Gordon, has risen

He is asking about the trainers recovered from his client.

On the right, Connor’s blood was found, on the left Barrass’s blood was found, but because they have been washed, it is not possible to say how it got onto the shoes, they agree.

The cap was spot tested and Connor’s blood was found, and it is a contact stain. Mr Newell has suggested it hadn’t fallen into any blood.

They have agreed that someone with it on their hand could have put it there.

Mr Newell has now been released from court after giving his evidence.

2.55pm: Jonathan Whitfield QC is now cross-examining Mr Newell

Mr Whitfield is representing Barrass.

He has noted Connor and Barrass faced each other and were on the floor, which could explain the stains.

He noted that it is difficult to say whether the injury is caused by a knife being used to hurt someone or someone moving towards it.

Scientifically, there would be no difference in the evidence, Mr Newell agrees.

2.50pm: Mr Newell’s conclusion is now being given

He said the findings are that the knife was used to stab Connor and that Barrass handled it.

He also said there has been interaction between Gordon’s trainers and Connor, but that they have been washed or cleaned, which means it cannot be determined if they have been used with force, such as a kick.

He has said there was blood in the lane from Barrass and on the £5 from Connor.

2.45pm: The inside of the hat was tested

It showed that Gordon and Barrass were the main contributors of the DNA found.

2.40pm: A sample from the shoe showed Gordon was a “significant contibutor”

The sample from the right showed this.

A black and white Adidas hoodie from Polmuir Road was also tested and matched with Gordon.

A white Hugo Boss baseball cap was also found at the address and was analysed. It has been shown to the court.

It was checked and there are a few blood stains on it. Mr Newell has said they are contact blood stains.

He says one reasonable explanation is that someone handled it. One sample from the upper surface was tested and was found to match Connor.

2.35pm: A pair of white Nike trainers have also been tested

They were seized from Gordon’s grandmother’s house.

They were “really clean, white washed” but had small amounts of blood on the heel.

Mr Newell has said that was deposited before they were cleaned. DNA tests showed that blood on the right matched Connor and blood on the left matched Barrass. It has been suggested by Mr Newell that it could explain Gordon having some interaction with Connor on the ground.

2.30pm: A knife recovered from Gordon has been handed to the witness

Similar tests were carried out to that from the alley and nothing of note was found.

There is no evidence that was used to hurt Connor.

2.25pm: More clothing was tested

Hand swabs from Barrass contained his own blood. One from his right hand found a mixed profile, mainly from Barrasss, as well as the DNA profile of Connor.

A navy Lacoste tracksuit top from Gordon, worn when he was arrested, also had blood on it. Tests from the left chest area and left sleeve were made. The chest patch was found to belong to Barrass.

A gold metal ring from Gordon and a pair of tracksuit bottoms were tested and showed nothing.

2.20pm: The next item is a red Hugo Boss polo shirt

It had stains down the centre, suggesting it was worn below a jacket.

Mr Newell also said there are drips as if someone had bled from their face. Other spots come from the front, like the jeans.

The trainers also had blood on them. There’s also some on the soles, suggesting it came from walking over blood.

There was no suggestion these had been used to kick.

2.15pm: The court is now looking at clothing seized

Forensic scientist Mr Newell has been called to continue his evidence.

The blue jacket, red t-shirt and white trainers were examined and there was blood found on them.

The staining on the jacket is being described, which was found on the chest, right shoulder and right sleeve.

The DNA of Connor and Barrass have been confirmed.

1.05pm: The hearing will resume in around an hours time

The court will move on to a coat next, but that will be following on from a lunch break.

1pm: Clothing seized from Barrass is being discussed

The blue River Island jeans, were blood stained and Mr Newell said they were mainly spots from the front.

He explained that a patch near the knee could show contact with someone or that they had knelt on the ground.

DNA showed that the blood was Connor’s.

12.50pm: DNA tests on the knife show two main contributors

DNA tests on it matched Connor.

Another area not stained was sampled to recover any DNA which could have suggested who had handled the knife.

Results found a mixed DNA profile showing four people, but largely suggested two main people.

Connor and Barrass found they were the “two main contributors.”

He says it is likely that Barrass was the key person.

Three swabs from near Aphrodite and near the Borough are being discussed. Blood on those was analysed.

Two from near the shop showed the same profile, matching Barrass. The other from close to the pub matched Connor.

The £5 note also had blood on it, with that found to match Connor.

12.45pm: The evidence from the knife has been discussed

The matches show if it is a billion times more likely to be from the same person.

The first item to be looked at is the lock knife which was recovered and Mr Newell has confirmed the knife in court is the one referred to in his report.

The knife says “Joker, why so serious?” on one side and he has confirmed its size.

He says it was checked for blood, tissue, hairs and skin left by someone handling it, and said it looks blood stained.

He says it appears to have a handprint or fingerprint on it.

He says it is in keeping with someone using it in a stabbing.

12.35pm: Mr Newell has explained his tests

He has explained it was his job to establish if the knife had been used on Connor and the defendants interaction with it. He also looked at whose blood was at the scene.

With a team, he looked at items for blood and skin on the knife. Samples from the items were subject to DNA tests.

He is explaining how they look for DNA and how it creates a graph which is compared to a reference sample.

If they match they could have come from the same person.

12.30pm: These are the samples Mr Newell was sent

John Newell is a forensic scientist and is a specialist is the examination of crime scene exhibits analysis, blood patterns and DNA.

He was asked by Northumbria Police, who gave him an outline of what had happened and what was said by the defendants after their arrest.

Items were sent to the lab where he works in Wakefield. He was sent a knife recovered from the back lane, which has been shown to court again. It has “Joker” on the blade.

A pair of jeans from Barrass, hand swabs from him, a blue coat, a red T-shirt and shoes were also sent to him.

Samples taken from Connor’s body were also sent.

Gordon’s nail samples, tracksuit bottoms, a lock knife and a signet ring were sent.

Swabs from the lane, a £5 from the lane and some items seized from Gordon’s grandmothers home, a white Boss cap and trainers and a black and white Adidas hoodie, and another item of clothing from another property were also sent.

He has claimed that he was able to establish Connor’s DNA profile.

12.25pm: The hearing has resumed

The next witness is John Newell, who is going into detail with scientific evidence in relation to blood stains.

11.55am: There is now a short break to prepare for the next witness

The barristers for the defendants have said they have no questions for the officer.

Mr Hill has said the jury will be able to see the footage when they retire to deliberate.

The jury and defendants have now left the court room.

11.50am: The final clip is from two hours later

The clip is from 3.37am at the petrol station on The Broadway, where Gordon is seen again. He walks off and then comes back and appears to buy “some pop.”

Mr Hill has said the officer has managed to match up footage from the same time from the back lane, showing the fight happen from a range of angles.

11.40am: Mr Hill is explaining more footage after the attack

The next clip appears to show Barrass as he falls to the ground, Mr Hill has explained

He says the next piece of footage shown appears to show Barrass running out of the alley towards Stockton Road and outside Chilino’s. It shows him being restrained and after a few minutes, being put into the back of a police van.

11.35am: Footage from after the incident has been shown

The next clip shows Mr Nunn alerting door staff.

A camera from The Borough pub captured the moments after the attack.

The next piece of footage shows Gordon heading up the lane and then passing Ttonic towards Stockton Road, with another shot of it from the Turkish restaurant.

One clip from 7even shows the doorstaff chasing after Barrass.

11.30am: Clips of the incident are being replayed and slowed down

At 1.12am, a clip shows Connor and his friend Stephen Nunn leave Gatsby’s towards the lane at the back of 7even.

Another clip shows Barrass and Gordon in the same area.

The court has been shown the clip, which has been played many times, and shows the start of the incident.

The next clip shows Barrass passing the rear of a pizza shop and another shows him returning in the direction of Gatsby’s.

The clip of the fight in the back lane has been played to the court and sections have been slowed down.

11.25am: Footage from the alley is played over a number of minutes

The next footage shows the same time frame from another angle.

Jamie Hill QC, prosecuting, has asked where that fits into the timeline.

Detective Constable Mark Wedderburn has explained it is from a Turkish restaurant and Ttonic showing Gordon and Barrass with others.

The next footage is from near the Aphrodite shop. A minute later, at 1.10am, it gives another view of Barrass.

11.20am: More footage shows the men walking by Chilino’s and then Ttonic using the lane.

11.10am: The next clip shows a mini bus stopping in the station

At 12.22am, a different camera shows Gordon arriving and joining Barrass by the vehicle.

They wait for the minibus to come back for them.

The officer has been asked to confirm that the camera jumps forward, where they aren’t seen on camera.

At 1.02am, there is footage from near the Civic Centre showing Gordon next to the minibus door. Gordon and Barrass walk past the Cooper Rose a few minutes later.

10.55am: A series of clips are shown from later in the night

Connor and some friends leave the Cooper Rose at 11.09pm.

There are a series of clips showing them pass Ttonic, 7even and The Borough towards Gatsby’s using the back lane. They then go into Gatsby’s.

An hour or so later, at 12.14am, Barrass can be seen on camera in a BP petrol station shop.

10.50am: Connor and his friends head elsewhere

At 10pm Connor and some friends leave The Peacock and head to the High Street.

At 10.09pm they enter P’s and Q’s and stay for a while, then go into the Cooper Rose:

10.45am: Connor leaves The Dolphin and heads to The Peacock

The next clip is from shortly after 8pm and shows Connor and friends leave The Dophin after around six hours.

Ten minutes later, Connor and another man go into The Peacock where they join a party.

10.40am: More details have been shown

At 6.34pm, Gordon joins a group at the Gleneagles pub and he receives a phone call.

Ten minutes later, at the Grindon Club, Barrass approaches a small dark hatchback and is driven away.

Another ten minutes later, Barrass arrives at The Oddies and he appears to speak to a man.

10.35am: Details from the clips shown

Jamie Hill QC, prosecuting, is pointing out where each clip is from as it is played by the officer.

In the city centre around the same time, a clip shows Gordon arriving at the William Jameson pub.

In a clip from the Grey Hen, Barrass produces a knife from his waistband as he sits with friends.

Across town, Gordon leaves the William Jameson pub, having been there for 23 minutes.

Barrass is seen leaving the Grey Hen. He is then seen on footage at the Grindon Club and coming out a short time later at 5.31pm.

10.30am: CCTV footage to be shown

The whole sequence of the CCTV footage is going to be played to the court.

The first is of the Dophin pub, showing Connor arriving earlier in the day with friends.

A clip from an hour later, at 3.20pm, shows Barrass arriving at the Grey Hen with a friend.

10.25am: Detective Constable is first witness

The first witness is Detective Constable Mark Wedderburn, who is a member of the police’s homicide team. His role was to secure and coordinate the CCTV as part of the inquiry.

10.20am: The trial has resumed

The defendants have been brought into court.

Barrass is wearing a white shirt and Gordon is in a dark suit, shirt and tie.

10.15am: Two witnesses to appear

Two witnesses will appear in court today as the trial continues.

10am: Trial continues at Newcastle Crown Court

Two men, Leighton Barrass, of Hartside Square, and Ally Gordon, of Polmuir Road, both 20, are standing trial charged with the murder of Connor Brown.