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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 19:30 GMT
Pub hitmen 'were shot in melee'
The scene of the shooting in Salford
The two victims were found outside the pub on grassland
Pandemonium broke out in a pub when two gunmen opened fire in a botched killing attempt, a court heard.

Carlton Alveranga, 20, and Richard Austin, 19, were ordered to kill two men in the Brass Handles pub in Salford - but failed and ended up dead.

The pair were shot during the melee and died after staggering outside.

Ian McLeod, 42, of Radcliffe, Constance Howarth, 38, of Salford, and Warren Mason, 23, of Kearsley, all deny conspiracy to commit murder.

A fourth man, Robert "Bobby" Spears, is also suspected of involvement in the alleged plot but is believed by police to have fled the country.

It is a measure of their lack of success that not only did they fail in their endeavour but they also lost both their lives
Neil Flewitt QC, prosecuting

The masked gunmen stormed into the pub in Edgehill Close, Langworthy, shortly before 1415 GMT on 12 March 2006.

The pub was packed with people watching a live televised football match between Manchester United and Newcastle United.

Prosecutor Neil Flewitt QC said: "Alveranga and Austin did not attend the pub to watch the football match or to socialise. They attended to kill.

"It is a measure of their lack of success that not only did they fail in their endeavour but they also lost both their lives."

The court was told they approached their believed targets, David Totton and Aaron Travers and one of them, understood to be Austin, fired six shots.

The gunmen knew where to go because Ms Howarth was in the pub shortly before and had directed them via mobile phone, the jury heard.

Killing plot

Both targets were seriously wounded in the attack but miraculously survived, Mr Flewitt said.

After the shooting the gunmen were either disarmed or one of the customers had a firearm which they used to shoot both men in the chest.

Alveranga and Austin escaped the pub and tried to get to their getaway car, allegedly driven by Mr Mason, but collapsed. Several customers chased them outside and kicked them while they lay dying.

The court heard that the shutter was pulled down on the pub moments later and someone ripped out the CCTV footage. No weapons were ever found.

Mr Flewitt said it was the prosecution's case that the actions of Alveranga and Austin were directed by others for a motive which remained unclear.

Phone contact

Mr Spears, of Prestwich, wanted Mr Totton and Mr Travers dead, Mr Flewitt alleged.

He chose his assistants Ms Howarth, of Rosalind Court, Salford, and Mr McLeod, of Victoria Street, Radcliffe, to set up the killings, Mr Flewitt told the court.

Mr Mason, of Jackson Street, Kearsley, was recruited by Mr McLeod in all probability to drive away the gunmen but was a minor player, the prosecution claimed.

It is alleged that Alveranga and Austin, who were from Moss Side, were directed by Mr McLeod, Ms Howarth and Mr Spears.

All three, the prosecution said, were said to be in regular phone contact in the hours leading up to the shootings.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.

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