Page last updated at 19:49 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 20:49 UK

Security boss 'ordered execution'

The Brass Handles pub (Pic: MEN)
The men were shot dead in the pub in March 2006 (Pic: MEN)

A security boss arranged an execution attempt in a packed pub as he watched Manchester United from the terraces at Old Trafford, a court heard.

Drinkers were watching the same game on TV two miles away at the Brass Handles pub in Salford when the gunmen burst in, Manchester Crown Court heard.

But gunmen Carlton Alveranga, 20, and Richard Austin, 19, were disarmed and fatally shot.

Bobby Spiers, 40, of Prestwich, denies conspiracy to murder.

Alveranga and Austin, both of Moss Side, burst in to the pub and started shooting just after the match reached half-time on 12 March 2006.

Panic broke out in the packed pub as bullets flew "everywhere", the court heard.

Spiers 'instrumental'

Mr Spiers - described as "too wise or wily" to be so closely connected - went to the game as an alibi, but was in contact with co-conspirators, the court was told.

But although two men in the pub, David Totton and Aaron Travers, were shot with a 9mm Baikal handgun, the hired hitmen were shot dead with a Glock pistol.

Constance Howarth, 39, from Salford, a work colleague and friend of Mr Spiers, was in the pub as a "spotter" to point out the target, the court heard.

She was in contact with Ian McLeod, 44, from Radcliffe, who drove the hitmen to the pub.

Howarth and McLeod were both subsequently arrested, convicted of conspiracy to murder and jailed in March 2007.

Prosecutors claimed Mr Spiers was able to "oversee things from afar" but was "instrumental" in the planned execution.

He fled to Spain within days of the shooting but was extradited back to the UK in 2008.

Neil Flewitt QC, prosecuting, said evidence of telephone calls between Mr Spiers, Howarth and McLeod shortly before and after the shooting showed it was "no coincidence".

The trial continues.

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