Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Witness Accused of Crime; WITNESS ACCUSEDGUN

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Witness Accused of Crime; WITNESS ACCUSEDGUN

Article excerpt

A ONE-TIME drugs and guns runner who saw a shotgun blasted into a Teesside house has been accused: "You were the gunman, weren't you?" Self-confessed former drugs gang member James Errington denied that he was the man who fired the 16-gauge sawn-off shotgun.

The chief prosecution witness was accused of inventing a "mythical" look-alike gunman to "hit the criminal jackpot". He denied blaming others or playing down his role in the shooting while trapped by police as prime suspect. He told Teesside Crown Court he was a reluctant, scared driver led by front-seat passenger James Dawson to Allison Street, Guisborough. He said a third man, an unknown passenger who coincidentally looked "almost like me", got out and fired the 1926 shotgun into a house. Defence lawyers say there was no mystery gunman in the hired VW Passat on the evening of Bank Holiday Monday, May 4, last year. They allege Errington loaded and discharged the Belgian doublebarrelled weapon while Dawson - who is on trial - was "helpless with fear".

Errington, 34, agreed that evidence pointed towards himself being the gunman, but maintained it was not him. Rod Hunt, defending Dawson, said to Errington yesterday: "The net was drawing tighter and tighter around you. You had to think of a way out. "And you thought, I'm going to blame everybody except me. I'm going to get out of this. "And it's worked for you, hasn't it? You've hit the criminal jackpot. You haven't even been prosecuted for being a drug dealer." Errington has been released from a 15-month sentence - a reduced term rewarding him for giving Crown evidence - after admitting his role in the gun plot. Mr Hunt said Dawson took drugs which Errington supplied, and owed him money. The barrister put to Errington: "You told him he had to come with you. There were only two of you in that car. The gunman - that's you - and Mr Dawson.

"You didn't pick up this mythical third man. You were carrying out yet another of your shotgun escapades. "You had a shotgun and you were working yourself up to go and do something. You were pumping yourself up into a state of aggression. …

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