Gun plot suspect refused to comment when quizzed by police

Scene of the shooting in Craigshaw Square, Hylton Castle, Sunderland.
Scene of the shooting in Craigshaw Square, Hylton Castle, Sunderland.

A man accused of being involved in a shooting in which shots were fired through a house window remained silent about it when questioned by police.

Tony Trott is on trial with five other men accused of taking part in an alleged revenge attack for a burglary.

Six shots were fired through the front window of a house in Craigshaw Square, Hylton Castle, Sunderland, in the early hours of September 12, 2016, a jury at Teesside Crown Court heard.

Prosecutors allege the shooting was in revenge for a burglary a few hours earlier at a house in Hylton Road, Sunderland, occupied by Stuart McDonald, his girlfriend, and the couple’s two children.

The jury heard McDonald was curfewed to a bail hostel in Middlesbrough at the time of the burglary.

When McDonald heard about the burglary by phone, hostel staff overheard him making a series of anxious calls in which he referred to “Big Tony”.

Prosecutor Richard Herrmann told the jury: “Tony Trott was asked by police about communication he was alleged to have had with Stuart McDonald and co-accused Lee Barnett.

“Trott was informed that after the burglary, McDonald had been overheard discussing the burglary in an agitated state.

“He was informed that within those conversations, Stuart McDonald was heard to refer to ‘Big Tony’.

“He was asked if ‘Big Tony’ could refer to him.

“Tony Trott made no comment.”

Detectives analysed mobile phone records and found Trott was in contact with other defendants often before and after the shooting.

When asked if he knew anything about the shooting, Trott again refused to comment.

Trott, 30, of Maritime Buildings, Sunderland, and Barnett, 32, of Throston Grange, Hartlepool, deny illegal possession of a firearm between October 1, 2015, and March 1, 2016.

McDonald, 37, of Hylton Road, Sunderland, James Lee Ratcliffe, 34, of no fixed abode, Trott, and Barnett, deny conspiracy to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life on September 12, 2016.

Anthony Sweeney, 31, of Spout Lane,Washington, denies possession of a prohibited weapon on September 10, 2016.

Paul Kennedy, 21, of Seaham Street, Sunderland, denies possession of a prohibited weapon September 12, 2016.

The trial continues