20th Oct, 2017

Shot in the head saw Daz the Mod 'block out' memories

Coventry Editorial 17th Aug, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A FORMER pub DJ believes he has ‘blocked out’ memories of the moment he was shot in the face by a member of the Coventry Outlaws motorcycle gang.

Darren ‘Daz the Mod’ Smith has told a jury at Warwick Crown Court that he can only remember seeing ‘disjointed things’ on the night he was shot 19 years ago on account of having a bullet ‘bounce round’ his brain.

Mr Smith was giving evidence in the trial of Anthony Stephens, who is alleged to have shot him in the face at the Plough pub in London Road, on October 20, 1996.

The 47-year-old formerly of Cranberry Road, Tile Cross, Birmingham, but who now lives in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Mr Smith and has also denied an alternative charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent to cause him serious injury on Mr Smith – who still has the bullet lodged in his head.

The court has heard that Mr Smith was shot in the face as he stood in the doorway of the pub after four members of the Coventry Outlaws motorcycle gang had been ordered to leave.

The bullet, alleged to have been fired by Stephens, went through his nasal passage into his brain – hitting one side of his skull before ricocheting to the other side, where it is still lodged, causing ‘serious and lasting brain damage.’

Mr Smith used to work part-time at The Plough pub, DJ-ing as ‘Daz the Mod’ at the pub’s famous weekly lock-ins.

Describing his memory of the events before the shooting, Mr Smith said Stephens had arrived with a group of men – including member of the Outlaws, ‘Trotter’ – at 6.20am.

He recalled being called off the decks by one of the barmen to go and help with a situation at the bar which saw the group, including Stephens, ‘being aggressive and cocky and arguing about having drinks.’

Mr Smith said: “I tried to calm them down.

“They would be trying to grab me while I was behind the bar.

“I just said ‘Right, well get out then.’”

Mr Smith ushered the group out and shut the door – where he said he remembers them starting to smash up a car.

He added: “They seemed to go quite sheepishly.

“Now I know it was because they had a gun and wanted to go outside.

“I opened the door and told them to go, and that is all I can remember.”

Prosecutor Stephen Linehan QC suggested Mr Smith look at the statement he made at the time to help him remember the events.

The former DJ said he told police he had a gun in his hand and was waving it up and down, but that he ‘can’t remember this now’ and believe he could have blocked it out.

Mr Linehan said the police later showed Mr Smith photos of 12 men, from whom he picked ‘the person who shot me’ – Mr Smith telling the jury he had picked out a picture the defendant.

But Elizabeth Marsh QC, defending, pointed out that Mr Smith said he has ‘no memory at all of looking out of the pub or seeing a man with a gun’ and said that when police took a first statement from him in hospital Mr Smith did not say who had shot him.

Mr Smith replied that his memories are just ‘disembodied’ and said: “My whole world was upside-down and I was in a great deal of pain.

“I can’t remember seeing anything other than disjointed things – but remember, I had a bullet bounce round my brain.”

The trial continues.

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