South Shields man denies involvement in shotgun attempted murders

A man on trial for two attempted shotgun murders has denied involvement in either of the attacks.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 4:00 pm

Thomas Lee and his brother James Lee are accused of plotting to kill 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.

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The trial is being held at Newcastle Crown Court.

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.

Thomas Lee has already told jurors he was "not responsible" for the attack on Ms Robinson but admitted he discharged a firearm, that he said belonged to Mr King, because he wanted to scare him after a row.

James Lee has now given evidence from the witness box and said he had nothing to do with either of the attacks.

He told jurors he was nowhere near the scene of Ms Robinson's attack and had been out visiting friends at the time.

His barrister Toby Hedworth QC asked him: "On that evening, have you had anything to do with a shooting?"

James Lee replied: "No."

Lee told jurors his cousin Mr King is "like a brother" to him.

He said he had been at Mr King's house, with his brother Thomas, in the hours before the shooting that happened there but left because it got "heated" and added: "They were on about the past, old times and started to get a bit heated.

"That's one of the main reasons I wanted to leave."

Lee said when he left the house his brother and Mr King were "f-ing and blinding" but he did not see any violence and did not, nor have any intention of using any violence himself.

He told jurors he left Mr King's flat but returned later to pick up his brother and take him home.

Lee said his brother Thomas was "irate" when he got into his van but did not tell him anything about any violence or gun.

He told jurors: "I didn't want to take him home when he was like that, where my sister lives and my mam, so I tried to take him with me to cool off."

Lee said he later drove Thomas back to see Mr King, so he could "say sorry" and saw the police were at the flats so he drove off.When asked by Mr Hedworth why he drove away, Lee said: "Because I had no licence and I had had one or two cans earlier on that night."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.

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