The jury in the trial of Connor Chapman has been asked to return on Monday after unforeseen circumstances disrupted proceedings today.
The 23-year-old is on trial at Liverpool Crown Court accused of the murder of beautician Elle Edwards in a botched gang shooting outside the Lighthouse pub, Wallasey Village, shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve last year.
Elle, 26, was outside the front entrance smoking a cigarette and chatting when a man who had been loitering in the car-park fired 12 shots from a Skorpion sub-machine gun. Elle was struck twice in the head, while the gunman's alleged "intended targets - Kieron Salkeld and Jake Duffy - were seriously wounded.
Three other men described as "innocent bystanders", Harry Loughran, Liam Carr and Nicholas Speed, were also injured. Nigel Power, KC, prosecuting, has told the jury the incident was the "culmination" of a violent feud between criminals based around the Woodchurch estate, where Chapman lives, and the Beechwood/Ford estate, home to Salkeld and Duffy.
Chapman, of Houghton Road in Woodchurch, began giving evidence on Tuesday afternoon and has told the jury he was at home all night "wrapping Christmas presents" and "pottering around the house". He accepted being a "low-level" cocaine dealer but denied being involved in any organised crime group.
He told the jury a man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, called him on the afternoon of Christmas Eve and made arrangements to take a stolen black Mercedes A-Class car, which he said was used as a "pool car" by Chapman and others, "mainly" for drug-dealing.
The prosecution says Chapman drove to Wallasey Village shortly after 8.44pm. Chapman's legal team, led by Mark Rhind, KC, say that an unidentified man collected the car keys on behalf of the man who contacted him that evening and took the car.
Chapman, however, accepted helping to burn out the Mercedes on New Year's Eve after he realised it had been used in the murder, claiming he knew he was "forensically linked" to it.
Today, after discussions in the absence of the jury, trial judge Mr Justice Goose made the decision to adjourn the case until Monday. The trial was always scheduled to not sit tomorrow (Friday) and the jury were asked to return at 10.30am on Monday morning.
Chapman has pleaded not guilty to Elle's murder, the attempted murders of Salkeld and Duffy, and wounding Mr Carr and Mr Loughran with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He also denies assaulting Mr Speed occasioning actual bodily harm, and possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.
Another man, 20-year-old Thomas Waring, of Private Drive, Barnston, is also on trial having denied assisting an offender and possessing a prohibited weapon.
The trial continues.
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