Connor Brown murder trial: What the jury has heard so far as two men deny Sunderland man's killing

Witnesses on the scene of a back alley fight which claimed the life of Connor Brown have helped a jury start to piece together what is said to have led to his alledged murder.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 4:38 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th November 2019, 1:35 pm
The trial of Leighton Barrass and Ally Gordon is ongoing at Newcastle Crown Court. They deny the murder of Connor Brown, inset.

Leighton Barrass, of Hartside Square, on the Hylton Lane Estate, and Ally Gordon, of Polmuir Road, Plains Farm, Sunderland, each deny the killing of 18-year-old in the early hours of Sunday, February 24, this year.

The 20-year-olds are standing trial at Newcastle Crown Court and the hearing started on Wednesday, November 13.

It could last up to four weeks.

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This is what we know so far, with the case expected to resume at 10.30am on Monday, November 18.

Why was Connor and his friends out in Sunderland city centre?

It broke out in the lane by the side of The Borough pub up to Chilino’s, which is used as a shortcut to get between Gatsby’s in Park Lane and other bars.

Connor and a group of mates had been in the Hendon Grange pub to watch a boxing match before catching a minibus into town, with one of the group, Stephen Nunn calling home to get changed before meeting up with others.

They had also been out to celebrate the birthday of one of the group, Dominic Moan.

What is said to have sparked off the fight?

The prosecution has told the court there was a disagreement between Stephen Nunn and Leighton Barrass after Barrass gave him a £5 note instead of two in return for £10 when he had asked for change – witnesses have said they heard reference being made to a “tenner” during the confrontation.

After Mr Nunn punched Barrass, the 20-year-old defendant is said to have left the alley and returned, with witnesses saying this is when they saw a knife.

Connor then became involved in the fight and was fatally injured, with the 18-year-old GP reception team member kicked while on the ground – it is claimed Gordon landed these strikes.

Friends tried in vain to stop violence

The court has heard a number of people tried to calm down the situation before the fight erupted and then also tried to bring the brawl to a stop, with the jury told at one stage Connor and Barrass were on the ground in the back lane close to a number of bins.

Chloe Ganley, who lived next to Connor for 14 years, said she was knocked to the floor as she tried to intervene.

The defence team have made mention of the fact Connor was a boxer and had thrown some “pretty good punches” during the altercation, while one witness said there were “arms were going all over” as the pair grappled.

Alarm raised for Connor

A number of the witnesses called to court so far have said they quickly realised Connor was badly hurt.

A number have said he didn’t seem to acknowledge his injury before the fight continued.

After he collapsed, door staff were called to the scene, while the witnesses say St John’s Ambulance staff, who are out in the city centre at night to offer support to those on a night out, arrived to help.

Efforts were made to keep Connor alive, but he died in hospital a short time later.

What is expected to happen next in the trial?

The hearing will resume as the new week begins and is due to hear from door staff among others, with the defence then likely to start.