On 5 March 2019, the jury returned verdicts convicting 6 defendants – Michael Conroy, Darren Appleby, Jamie Moran, Kenneth Moran, Bailey Wilson and Sean Ree – of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life at Newcastle Crown Court in relation to two shootings in January 2018.
The successful prosecution by Matthew Donkin and Richard Holland, instructed by the Northumbria CPS Complex Case Unit, followed a five-week trial before HHJ Batiste at Newcastle Crown Court. Sentencing will take place in due course.
The case involved the calling of evidence from a wide range of expert witnesses giving evidence on the examination and comparison of firearms and ammunition, DNA and fingerprint comparison, Cell-site and RF surveys, and CCTV image comparison.
All defendants faced charges relating to a feud between their group and a rival faction in the west-end of Newcastle. The prosecution was able to successfully prove that all defendants had conspired to attack a property on 4th January 2018, discharging a .410 shotgun through the living room window as the residents sat feet away.
Michael Conroy, Darren Appleby and Jamie Moran were convicted of a second charge in relation to an attack on another property on 8th January 2018, firing multiple shots from a .22 calibre rifle and .410 shotgun. Those defendants were also successfully linked to a .22 calibre rifle and shotgun and rifle ammunition hidden under the floorboards of a safe house on 14th February.
Media coverage of the case can be found here:
Matthew and Richard’s prosecution followed the successful prosecution by Sharon Beattie and James Gelsthorpe, also of New Park Court Chambers, of the linked case relating to a firearms conspiracy concerning members of the rival faction. The Defendants in that case were sentenced in December 2018 to substantial custodial sentences. Reporting restrictions were in place until the conclusion of the linked trial.
The Defendants were apprehended following the recovery of a sawn off shotgun hidden close to the A1. The police substituted a “dummy” and carried out covert surveillance which resulted in the apprehension of all the defendants. In sentencing, His Honour Judge Simon Batiste noted that two of the Defendants, Paul Scott and Steven Scott had “escalated the feud” following attack on properties linked to them, had declined police assistance and “taken matters into their own hands”.
The case can now be reported in the press: