Connor Brown murder trial: What happened at Newcastle Crown Court on day four of hearing

Evidence of doormen and medics has been heard on the fourth day of a trial into the alleged murder or Connor Brown.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 3:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 10:00 am

Sunderland men Leighton Barrass, of Hartside Square, on the Hylton Lane Estate, and Ally Gordon, of Polmuir Road, Plains Farm, both 20, deny the charge following the death of the 18-year-old from Farringdon in the early hours of Sunday, February 24.

Connor had been out with friends to watch a boxing match in the pub before they headed into the city centre as they celebrated the birthday of a friend.

Newcastle Crown Court began to hear the case last Wednesday and has been told how Connor’s friend Stephen Nunn had initially got into a fight with Barrass when the defendant shortchanged him of £5 when he asked to swap a £10 note.

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The case of Leighton Barrass and Ally Gordon, who deny the murder of Connor Brown, inset, is being held at Newcastle Crown Court,

Connor then became involved, with a first confrontation, followed by another when Barrass returned to the scene in the alley between Gatsby’s and The Borough pub off Park Lane.

Further accounts of people on a night out given to court

The hearing resumed after the weekend to hear the accounts of Chelsea Thompson, Dylan Ashworth and Simon Hall.

They follow a number of Connor’s friends who had been out with him or people who were very close to what happened.

Ms Thompson had been out with two of her friends, while Mr Ashworth and Mr Hall were out together with another mate.

They were all using the lane as a shortcut to reach Gatsby’s from Chilino’s takes away when the disturbance broke out, but did not know the people involved or see any weapons involved.

They saw punches being thrown and said one of the three men had kicked out.

Door staff rush to help after alarm is raised

James Bird, who was working on the front door of Port of Call, explained the bar and Gatsby’s are part of the same company and security team, while Daniel McCourt was the head of security at Gatsby’s that night when they heard there had been a stabbing.

Mr Bird said he had been alerted to a man in a blue coat who was said to have been involved and was warned he could have a knife.

He pursued him up the lane and managed to apprehend him near Chilino’s.

Mr Bird explained people had been “against him” as he restrained the man and brought him to a halt by kicking him the head, but was able to explain to those watching on.

He said the man claimed he had been attacked, but that he and others checked and could find no injuries.

The man also asked who was going to take responsibility of fixing his phone and had appeared to have recorded the incident, referring to “door man brutality.”

Efforts were made to flag down police, who had been called to the scene, but were rushing towards The Borough, before one stopped and went to their help.

Meanwhile, Mr McCourt alerted St John’s Ambulance staff and also went into the Cooper Rose pub to use their Pubwatch radio to call in the incident to the camera control room, which has a link to the police.

Police arrive on scene after responding to calls of a stabbing

Pc Dan Fishwick gave evidence about how he had vaulted over a fence after a member of door staff got his attention.

He arrested the man restrained on the ground, but said he did not tell him it was on suspicion of wounding with intent because the man was “clearly intoxicated” and couldn’t understand what was going on.

Pc Fishwick told the court: “He referred to being stabbed or slashed, I can’t remember the exact term, but he appeared to use words to say he was the victim.”

He said when the man, who he established as Barrass, was taken to Southwick Police Station, a bag of pills was found on him, and he was abuse on arrival.

Medics explain their efforts to save Connor

Prosecutor Jamie Hill QC gave a warning that members of the jury and those in the public gallery could find details of what happened to Connor as he was treated for his wounds distressing.

At the opening of the case, the court was told Connor had been stabbed five times.

St John’s Ambulance volunteer Kara Langley told how she and all her teammates had been called over to help from their station outside TK Maxx, where they are usually on hand to help those with minor injuries.

While she called 999 for an ambulance and she and a colleague stopped people from coming down the lane, police arrived and she pointed out a knife and a £5 on the ground to an officer.

The witness statements of a paramedic also went into great detail about how they worked with an emergency department doctor from Sunderland Royal, who had been working on the aircrew’s road car that night.

Dr Philip O’Donnell said in his statement: “It was clear his stab wounds had caused serious injuries and a risk to life.”

He decided Connor would need to go to the trauma unit, with cardiac specialists put on alert.

Despite extensive efforts, Connor could not be saved.

The court is due to resume at 10.30am tomorrow.