Washington shooting: Gunman who shot man with sawn-off shotgun in broad daylight admits attempted murder

A man who fired a sawn-off shotgun and left his victim for dead in Washington has admitted attempted murder.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 3:44 pm

John Dees, 33, of Wensleydale Avenue in Washington, also admitted possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life, and criminal damage at Newcastle Crown Court on January 28.

He pulled a trigger in broad daylight on a Washington street on October 10, 2019, then attempted to cover his tracks.

The court heard how the victim and two friends were driving in a blue Transit van when they heard a car horn.

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He admitted attempted murder, possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life and criminal damage at Newcastle Crown Court. Photo: Northumbria Police

Dees claimed he was going to “smash” his victim. He followed them until they pulled over outside the One Stop Shop, Blue House Lane.

The victim, Darren March, 28, got out of his car and was summoned to the passenger side window, then Dees pointed the sawn-off shotgun at his victim and pulled the trigger.

This caused severe injuries: a large gunshot wound to his chest, shattered ribs and damage to his liver. He survived his injuries.

Detective Sergeant Steven Brown, the officer in charge said it was a “miracle” that the victim was not killed.

Police found the shotgun and unspent cartridges hidden in a rucksack left in a vacant address next door to a property belonging to a friend. Photo: Northumbria Police

Det Sgt Brown said: "There can be no doubt that the streets of Washington are a safer place with him behind bars.

“The victim in this case has shown incredible bravery throughout this case, and I would also like to thank the detectives who worked meticulously and tirelessly to ensure Dees was brought to justice for his crimes."

Chief Inspector Nicola Wearing added: "We want to reassure the people of Washington that incidents involving a firearm are thankfully rare in this area. However, when they do occur, this case shows we will use every resource available to us in order to secure a swift and successful prosecution.”

Dees refused to cooperate with police upon arrest but thanks to the evidence found including the shotgun and cartridges in a rucksack, he is due to be sentenced on April 24.

The shooting took place on a street in Washington. Photo: Northumbria Police

Judge Paul Sloan QC warned him: "You must understand, the fact I am adjourning sentence and the fact I am directing the preparation of pre-sentence reports is not an indication of the sentence."You will well understand, a significant custodial sentence will result."

Dees drove off and attempted to cover his tracks by removing his car’s metallic black wrap – changing its appearance to silver – and peeled off vinyl stickers. Photo: Northumbria Police
Unspent cartridges were hidden in a rucksack. Photo: Northumbria Police