Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Dead Man Walking' Lee Shot in the Back

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Dead Man Walking' Lee Shot in the Back

Article excerpt

Byline: GARETH LIGHTFOOT @GazetteCourt

A MURDER trial jury heard how Lee Pettite was shot in the back as he ran away - hours after he was told he was a "dead man walking".

Mr Pettite, 22, suffered the fatal gunshot wound after he was chased down by three men in a "pincer movement", jurors were told at Teesside Crown Court yesterday. Christopher Stubbs, 21, of Tyne Street, South Bank has pleaded guilty to Mr Pettite's murder.

Two other men - Luke Lovell, 22, of Wilton Way, Whale Hill, and Gordon Smith, 33, of Laburnum Road, Teesville - deny the murder and are on trial.

Opening the case, prosecutor Nick Johnson QC said the three launched "a targeted, persistent and planned attack" on Mr Pettite - a man who "never really stood a chance".

It ended with Stubbs shooting him through the back as he ran away in Bankfields, Eston at about 5pm on March 1, the court heard.

Already wounded by a shot to the foot, Mr Pettite ran "as if running for his life" from the armed trio, Mr Johnson told the jury.

A bang was heard and Mr Pettite was seen walking with a bloodied hand across his abdomen saying: "Help me. I've been shot."

He fell on Oakley Walk, slumped against a lampost saying "I can't breathe, it's my lung" and was found with no pulse by paramedics.

A doctor carried out open chest surgery, pumping his heart manually in an ambulance at a roadside. He could not be saved and died at James Cook University Hospital at 6.38pm that day.

The prosecution says Stubbs recruited Lovell and Smith to join him after arguing with Mr Pettite.

Mr Johnson said they were armed with a rifle and weapons variously described as sticks, a pole, club, cosh, crowbar, hammer or pickaxe.

He said Stubbs threatened Mr Pettite's mother "I'm going to chop him up, I'm going to kill him, tell him" and Lovell told him over the phone Mr Pettite was shot to the back, the bullet passing through his right lung, killing him through blood loss, said Mr Johnson. …

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