Connor Brown murder trial: What the prosecution say happened on the night the 18-year-old was stabbed

Connor Brown had just turned 18-years-old a few days before he headed out on a night out on Saturday, February 23, in Sunderland with a group of friends.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 5:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th November 2019, 5:15 pm

Just hours later, in the early hours of Sunday morning, he died from stab wounds he had suffered in a Sunderland alleyway.

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court was told on November 13 that Connor was murdered after a row broke out between four men over £5.

This is what the prosecution allege happened that night:

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The street where Connor Brown (inset) was stabbed in Sunderland city centre

Connor Brown was out with friends celebrating someone’s 18th birthday when the group moved to Gatsby’s bar, in Derwent Street, Sunderland, after midnight.

Connor told a friend that he needed to use the toilet but because it was busy they decided to go out to the alleyway.

It was in the alleyway that Connor and his friend, Stephen Nunn, were approached by the defendants Leighton Barrass, 20, of Hartside Square, and Ally Gordon, 20 of Polmuir Road, the prosecution alleges.

Drug selling

The court was told that Barrass had tried to sell drugs to the Connor’s friend, Stephen Nunn, but he had refused.

Barrass then asked to exchange a £10 for two £5 notes however the prosecution allege that when Stephen Nunn handed over £10 Barrass only handed back £5 and tried to give him some pills.

Prosecutor Jamie Hill QC say the whole incident related to Barrass and Gordon acting together in a criminal enterprise to sell drugs.

When Gordon was arrested he was found to be in possession of ecstasy and cannabis.

Barrass was in possession of Xanax tablets when he was arrested, though he doesn’t have a prescription for the drugs.

First altercation over £5

The prosecution allege that when Barrass refused to give Mr Nunn his £5, he tried to reason with Gordon who he knew through school.

The court heard that when Barrass became aggressive and refused Mr Nunn punched Barrass in the nose.

Barrass and Gordon then retreated to further up the ally.

The group were threatened with a knife

The prosecution allege that after initially retreating Barrass pulled a flick knife out of his pocket and headed back down the alleyway where the initial incident had occurred.

By that time Mr Nunn had left the area to go back to Gatsby’s but Connor remained there with a number of other people.

Mr Hill QC told the jurors that Barrass stormed down the alley making threats at the group of people who were gathered in the lane, which included Connor, and said he would stab ‘anyone of them’.

At this point Connor stepped forward and punched Barrass in an attempt to stop him carrying out his threat, the prosecution allege.

It was then that the prosecution say Barrass stabbed Connor in the chest before stabbing him a further four times as the pair scuffled.

Gordon is alleged to have returned to the alley way at this point and kicked and stamped on Connor as he lay bleeding on the floor.

Medics performed surgery in the street try to save Connor’s life

St John Ambulance staff who were nearby were alerted by a doorman, and they rushed to attempt CPR, while an off-duty nurse did everything she could to help Connor.

Paramedics and two doctors, based with the North East Air Ambulance were stationed nearby, and were at the scene within minutes. They carried out emergency surgery, in the street in an attempt to save Connor’s life.

Meanwhile Barrass was detained by bouncers until his arrest, the jury was told, and Gordon had left the city centre and returned to his grandmother’s home where he told her that a friend of his had been stabbed.

Gordon was arrested in Edinburgh after getting a train from Newcastle to Scotland the evening after the stabbing.

Connor’s family were called

Connor was taken by ambulance to the RVI in Newcastle where a specialist team did everything they could to save his life.

Tragically at 2.50 am, one hour and 20 minutes after the stabbing, he was pronounced dead.

One of Connor’s friends who had been in the alley and witnessed the stabbing called his parents and they travelled to the RVI and were in the hospital when he died.

The trial continues.