Defendant gives evidence in trial of brothers accused of two attempted shotgun murders
A man on trial for two attempted shotgun murders has admitted discharging a firearm during a row with his cousin to "scare" him, but denied trying to kill anyone.
Thomas Lee and his brother James Lee are accused of plotting to murder two people because they were "cross" as a result of arguments with the victims or their families.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Emma Robinson was targeted on October 3 last year when she was blasted with a shotgun through her window as she prepared cottage pie in her kitchen in Westerhope.
Two days later, the siblings' cousin Jordan King was shot at at his home, about a mile away in the same Newcastle suburb.
Thomas Lee, 21, of no fixed address, and James Lee, 27, of Henry Nelson Street, South Shields, both deny two charges of attempted murder, one of wounding with intent and one of attempted wounding with intent.
Giving evidence from the witness box this morning, Thomas Lee denied outright having anything to do with the attack on Ms Robinson and told jurors "I am not responsible".
He told jurors however that he did fire a shotgun to scare his cousin Mr King after a violent row.
Lee said he had been at Mr King's home and a row broke out.
He said he punched Mr King's girlfriend during the argument, which started because he thought someone with autism was being laughed at.
He told jurors he got into a "scuffle" with Mr King, who he said he knew owned a gun for "protection" after being stabbed six times.
Lee added that he knew Mr King kept the gun in a bin shed outside the block of flats where he lived.
He said as he left the flat, Mr King followed him downstairs.
Lee added: "As I went to leave I saw him go towards the bin shed.
"I ran past him to the bin shed, grabbed the gun from underneath the bin.
"It was inside a bag, with ammunition.
"I wasn't aware it was loaded but I did pull the trigger.
"Unfortunately it did go off.
"In no way did I aim it at him or intend to kill him.
"I shot it into the air, once.
"I wasn't aware in away way if it hit him as he was still running.
"As far as I was aware he ran around the block of flats."
Lee said he pulled the trigger to "scare" his cousin.
Lee said his brother James had been at the flat earlier but had left before the argument started.
He added: "My brother pulled back up by this time, James, I jumped into the vehicle and in no way or form did I make him aware of what had occurred because I knew he wouldn't let me in the van.
"I jumped in the van and off we went."
Lee said he had no intention to kill or injure Mr King during the confrontation.
The court heard Mr King did not make a witness statement about what happened to him but allowed the police to take photographs of his injuries.The trial continues.