Connor Brown murder trial: Jury told about letter defendant Leighton Barrass sent ex-girlfriend while on remand

A man accused of stabbing to death Connor Brown in a Sunderland city centre brawl told his ex “it was self-defence and manslaughter” in a letter sent while on remand.

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 1:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 10:09 am

On the 10th day of the murder trial, a note written by Leighton Barrass while he was in HMP Durham to his former partner Lydia Swan was discussed in court.

Barrass, of Hartside Square, Hylton Lane Estate, and Ally Gordon, also 20, of Polmuir Road, Plains Farm, deny the charge of murder following the death of 18-year-old GP receptionist Connor in the early hours of Sunday, February 24.

The court has previously heard Barrass was left with a bloody nose in a fight with Connor's friend Stephen Nunn over £5.

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

Witnesses told Newcastle Crown Court Barrass said: “I’ll stab any one of you” as he returned to the fracas with a knife and clashed with Connor.

It is alleged Gordon kicked Connor while he was on the ground with Barrass in a back alley off Park Lane, having already been stabbed in the side.

Groundworker Gordon had been expected to give evidence as the afternoon’s proceedings started, but the court was told he would not be taking to the witness stand.

Prosecutor Jamie Hill QC questioned Barrass about the letter, which the defendant said he could not remember writing.

Connor Brown

The jury was told it opened with the line “It’s the number one Badass” and said “it was self-defence and manslaughter” claiming Connor had started the fight.

Barrass also wrote he had “ran down the lane and accidentally stabbed him.”

Mr Hill QC suggested Barrass used letter to practice his story, which he denied, while the note said: “it was Ally who stabbed him the other times.”

Earlier in his evidence Barrass insisted he was not guilty of murder, telling the court Connor had “walked into” and “fell on the knife.”

He claims the group had been shouting threats at him and he went back to “try and scare them away.”

He added he “wasn’t trying to show who was boss at all,” and was not out for revenge or trying to prove himself to Gordon.

The case will resume at 10am on Thursday, December 5.