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Secret witness tells of armed battle; Gunman opened fire.

Byline: GARRY WILLEY

A SECRET witness told how a drive-by gunman opened fire as a feud brought violence to a Tyneside estate.

The man - known only as "A" and giving evidence through electronic disguise - had been drawn to Dene Avenue, Lemington, by the sound of the late night clash.

He saw a noisy mob shouting and swearing as the mayhem began to ignite.

Then the man saw a white Ford estate car heading towards the group with its wheels spinning.

And with the car still moving at 30-40mph, he watched as a gunman inside pointed a black pistol and repeatedly pulled the trigger, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

"As it approached them, the passenger from the rear of the vehicle leaned out of the window with a handgun and fired shots at the group," Witness A said.

"I could see his head and his right arm as he fired.

"He was aiming towards the people that were in the street.

"There were five or six shots and the vehicle was still moving."

The bullets all missed and the Ford briefly stopped, turned, and sped back towards the group - hitting at least one of them after being driven onto the pavement.

Members of the mob retaliated by throwing sticks and bricks towards the vehicle, the court heard.

"I would say the car was right on the pavement, almost to the fence or hedge," Witness A told the jury. "I could see there was someone lying on the floor."

Prosecutors claim Gary Addison, 49, had been the front seat passenger, climbing out with a 3ft long machete and heading towards his alleged rivals moments after the shooting.

They say his son William, 23, was driving the Ford and his other son John, 21, was the back seat gunman.

All three, from Dene Avenue, deny violent disorder and firearm offences in May last year. William further denies dangerous driving.

Witness A, his face heavily pixilated on the courtroom's plasma screens and his voice electronically distorted, said the Ford has been driven at the group again before finally speeding away. "I am not 100% sure if it struck anyone," he said. "I did hear a sound but I couldn't be sure whether it was striking a person or whether it was thudding on the pavement."

He told how he had recognised Gary Addison - who he had known and seen occasionally for approximately 20 years - getting out of the passenger seat with a machete. He had recognised the other two men in the car but only from seeing them in the area and did not know their names.

And reliving the end of the violence once the Ford had been driven out of sight, Witness A said: "I saw lots of people rushing about and one person lying on the floor."

A police officer told how the clash had left her more "terrified" than any incident in her 14 years with the force.

The trial continues.

CAPTION(S):

PATROL PC Les Mitchell in Dene Avenue, Lemington, scene of the incident
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 17, 2011
Words:504
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