22nd Sep, 2018

Prosecution allegedly hasn't proved Coventry War Memorial Park shooting case, jury hears

Correspondent 5th May, 2017

A JURY has heard a suggestion that one of the men accused of having a shotgun with intent to endanger life during an incident near Coventry’s War Memorial Park was himself a victim.

The barrister defending former Harbury man Liam Timms speculated that he and the alleged intended victim Ross White were injured when a sawn-off shotgun was fired accidentally in a car.

Timms (23) of no fixed address, but previously of Leycester Close, Harbury, and Jason Cornwall (30) of Arundel Road, Coventry, have both pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The jury has heard that in October last year Mr White was seen staggering along Coat of Arms Bridge Road, crying for help after being shot in the right forearm and left thigh.

A car was seen speeding away, and ten or so minutes later Timms, who had a shotgun wound to his left hand, went into A&E at Warwick Hospital, accompanied by Cornwall.

It is alleged by prosecutor Kevin Hegarty QC they and at least one other man had been involved in the shooting.

And when Timms was told he would have to be transferred to University Hospital in Coventry, which is where Mr White had been taken, he walked out – before going to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham the next day using a false name.

Addressing the jury at the end of the trial, Mr Hegarty conceded: “This is an unusual case because it involves a detailed analysis of only parts of the picture.

“It is those parts, I submit, which allow you to complete the picture to decide whether the defendants are guilty or not.

“No witness has come before you to say what happened in the moments before the gun was fired which caused Ross White to stagger down the road calling out ‘I’ve been shot.”

He pointed out that at Warwick Hospital Timms had been told that if he did not go to University Hospital for treatment straight away, ‘he might lose his hand or further up his arm.’

“Would any one of us take the risk of not following that medical advice?” he asked. “What could be so important that he simply walks out of the hospital?

“I have not been able to ask him, because he has not stepped out of there [the dock] and gone into the witness box.

“He knew there was a firearm. If it was not under his control earlier that day, if it was nothing to do with him, why not stay and ensure his hand is intact and will remain intact.”

Mr Hegarty said that at the hospital, Timms got out of the front passenger side, but his blood was later found on the rear off-side door of the partly burned-out car and on the road, which meant he had got back into the car after the shot was fired.

Cornwall got out of the rear door behind him, so neither of them had been driving.

“So who had the gun? You wouldn’t expect the driver to have the gun while driving the car.

Fergus Malone, for Cornwall, told the jury: “The prosecution have to prove the charge. Our answer is this: the prosecution cannot make you sure that Jason Cornwall knew about the shotgun prior to the event, they cannot make you sure he was in joint possession of the shotgun, and they cannot make you sure he shared an intent to endanger life.”

Mr Malone argued that there was no direct evidence that Cornwall was even at the scene of the shooting, or that he was involved in the later destruction of the Seat Leon which witnesses described as being carried out by two white men.

He said it was ‘perfectly legitimate and lawful’ to accompany a friend to hospital, and suggested the car could have collected him from his home on the way there.

Francis McGrath, for Timms, said Timms had been identified driving the Seat Leon the previous day, and suggested he had been driving it at the time, with White in the front passenger seat next to him.

He suggested that an injury to Timms’ left hand and Mr White’s right forearm and left thigh was consistent with a sawn-off shotgun having been fired by someone in the back of the car.

Observing that Coat of Arms Bridge Road was not a location someone would go to if they were intending to use a firearm, Mr McGrath put forward the suggestion that the gun could have been fired during ‘horseplay’ as the car was in motion.

“Was it because the person handling the gun didn’t know it was loaded? An accidental discharge is consistent with someone being ignorant of the fact it was loaded.”

The trial continues.

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