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Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 09:37 GMT
Shooting enthusiasts deny double murder
Good Companions Pub, South Croydon
The shooting take place outside the Good Companions pub
A group of clay pigeon enthusiasts took revenge for an incident in a pub in suburban Surrey by blasting two men to death with shotguns, a court has heard.

Anthony Ellison, 27, from Coulsdon, Surrey, and Michael Jones, 25, from Croydon, died in the car park of the Good Companions pub in Hamsey Green, near Whyteleafe on 9 February this year.

Another man, Michael Delaware, survived a serious stabbing in the same incident, the Old Bailey heard.

Four men - company director David Hempseed, 53, from Kenley, Surrey, Chris Bourke, 40, a hawker from Warlingham, Surrey, Alan Thruston, 46, an actor, from Whyteleafe, and Peter Cutbush, 46, a buyer, from Whyteleafe - deny murder.

Mr Cutbush gave evidence on Tuesday about the events leading up to the tragedy.

He said he knew the three other men socially and they shared an interest in clay pigeon shooting.

Day drinking

Mr Cutbush said he had spent the day drinking in various Croydon pubs with Mr Hempseed, who had been forced to abandon a shoot in the morning because of the weather.

At around 1730 GMT they returned to the White Lion pub in Whyteleafe, which Mr Hempseed helped to run.

Mr Cutbush said there was a lot of noise emanating from the games room and he said it was getting louder and louder.

When Mr Hempseed heard a glass being smashed he went into the games room to tell the group of men in there to leave.

Mr Cutbush said: "My next recollection was David Hempseed falling back with at least three men assaulting him."

He said he, Mr Bourke and other pub regulars helped Mr Hempseed to eject the troublemakers, who continued to shout threats from outside but eventually left.

'Confrontation'

Mr Cutbush said Mr Hempseed was very angry and was determined to seek a "confrontation" with the group.

He said he decided to go along partly out of loyalty to his friend and partly in an attempt to act as peacemaker.

Mr Hempseed got into his Range Rover with Mr Cutbush and Mr Bourke and they picked up Mr Thruston along the way, the jury was told.

Mr Cutbush said they drove around Whyteleafe looking for the group who had caused the trouble.

They arrived at the Good Companions at around 1845 BST.

Mr Cutbush said he was shocked when Mr Hempseed produced a shotgun and some ammunition.

Mind racing

"I raised my hand and said 'Stop there. Don't do anything.' My mind was racing.

"I thought I would go to the pub's main entrance. My intention was to look in, say they were not there and we would go," he said.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of Mr Cutbush going into the pub and talking to Mr Ellison for about 10 minutes.

Mr Cutbush said the conversation was initially quite heated but soon became amicable as he and Mr Ellison discussed the situation and agreed they did not want a confrontation.

He denied "luring" Mr Ellison or his friends out into the car park.

At 1858 GMT Mr Ellison and Mr Jones walked into the car park while Mr Cutbush stayed near the pub.

'Out of control'

He said he heard three gun shots ring out and he realised things had "got out of control".

Mr Cutbush said he thought the gun had been fired into the air but when he came into the car park he saw a "body" lying on the ground.

The Range Rover sped towards him and someone shouted: "Get in".

He said he obeyed and they drove off at speed.

The trial continues.


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10 Feb 02 | England
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