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I TRIED TO HELP; Suspect tells jury he fought to save man shot four times.

Byline: By SOPHIE DOUGHTY

A SUSPECT in the Jeffrey Lowdon hitman trial said he fought to save his life after he was shot.

Paul Bourn, who was standing four feet from Mr Lowdon when the bullets hit him, said he desperately tried to stifle the blood flow as the victim's distraught wife called for help.

Mr Bourn, who denies conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm in connection with the shooting in September last year, said he was drinking with Mr Lowdon and his wife Joanne at their home in Newcastle at the time of the attack, but said he has no idea how Mr Lowdon's injuries came about.

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court were read transcripts from police interviews of Mr Bourn, 47, on the day after the shooting.

He said: "I went to Jeffrey and Joanne's house at about 6.45pm and we were watching the telly in the kitchen, it was Ant and Dec I think, and then we watched X Factor. We were drinking vodka and coke. We were just drinking and talking, that's all we ever do. Then the next thing I knew I'm holding Jeffrey's stomach to stop blood coming out and Joanne was screaming down the phone. I heard him shout 'ow ow ow'.

"I didn't know what it was. All I can remember is her screaming and he seemed to lift his jumper up for some reason and all I could see was blood coming out of him."

Multiple sclerosis sufferer Mr Lowdon, 50, was gunned down as he stood in his kitchen. He was shot four times with bullets entering and exiting his chest, groin, stomach and arm and spent weeks in hospital.

Paul Bourn, of Orchard Terrace, Lemington, Max Bourn, 37, of Scotland Gate, Chopping-ton, Northumberland and James Richardson, 27, from Gill Street, Benwell, all deny conspiracy to murder and two charges of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm. Max Bourn denies attempted murder.

Paul Bourn told police he had known Mr Lowdon's wife Joanne for around 13 years, having met her at the St George's Social Club, in Lemington.

He said they had a relationship a number of years ago and remained friends and he had become friends with Mr Lowdon after they married.

But the prosecution alleges Paul Bourn was obsessed with Mrs Lowdon and recruited his brother Max to shoot her husband, and he brought pal James Richardson into the scheme.

The court heard how Mr Bourn had spent pounds 7,500 taking Joanne and three of her children on holiday to Florida, two months before her husband was gunned down.

But he told police he had done this to cheer up his friend when she had briefly separated from her husband.

He said: "I wanted to take her away so the kids could see Disney Land."

Months before the shooting, Mr Lowdon was the victim of an assault as he walked home from the Catholic Club, where he, his wife, and Paul Bourn regularly drank.

He was beaten so badly - possibly with a baseball bat - he suffered bleeding on his brain.

The trial continues.

CAPTION(S):

RECOVERING: Mr Lowdon and wife Joanne
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 13, 2007
Words:530
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