Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Monday, 29 November 2004

Bieber says friend shot policemen

Pc Ian Broadhurst
Pc Ian Broadhurst was shot dead on Boxing Day 2003

A man accused of murdering a policeman and wounding two other officers has blamed the shootings on a friend.

American David Bieber, 38, denies murdering Pc Ian Broadhurst, 34, in Leeds last Boxing Day and attempting to murder Pcs Neil Roper and James Banks.

Giving evidence for the first time at Newcastle Crown Court, he said he was 70 yards away when the shooting began.

He was "pretty certain" his friend, who had obtained a gun to settle an old score, had fired the shots, he added.

Pack of lies

Prosecutors claim Mr Bieber's story is a pack of lies.

Robert Smith QC said to him: "What I am suggesting is the story is patently untrue and you made it up and you are struggling to meet the evidence against you."

Mr Bieber denied this saying Mr Smith was entitled to his opinion and he was telling the truth.

"I was not there and did not see it so it does not matter how much you twist my words," he said.

The jury was shown a video from Pcs Broadhurst and Roper's patrol car showing the driver of a black BMW 316 car flicking through the pages of the Racing Post.

Mr Bieber denied it was him and said it was his friend - Mr X. He said Mr X was not wearing gloves but had some spray-on liquid latex on his hands.

Stolen car

Earlier Mr Bieber had explained his friend, who was from Florida, was visiting him in the UK.

He refused to name the mystery man, claiming the friend had helped him out in the past and he feared for his family if he named him in court.

Bieber said he arranged to meet the man on Boxing Day in Roundhay Road, Leeds, close to the scene of the shootings.

He told the jury that the man had arrived in a stolen BMW, which he had bought for his friend earlier in the year.

The friend had given him 7,500 because he was short of money.

They then drove to Dib Lane, where he had left the car to make some phone calls from a phone box when the incident happened.

He told me he thought he had shot two police officers and one of them was possibly dead
David Bieber
The defendant said that from the phone box he could see the police patrol car pull up next to the BMW.

"What concerned me now was one, the car was stolen, and two, my friend had a firearm on him," he told the court.

Mr Bieber said he ran off along Dib Lane and moments later his friend pulled up alongside him in a green Rover and he got in.

The handgun, which was still cocked, was on the floor of the car, he told the jury, so he picked it up and made it safe.

"I said 'please don't tell me you shot anyone, what happened?'

"He was freaking out, he screamed 'I'm on video, they have got me on video, they have got a photo of me, I'm screwed'.

"Then he told me he thought he had shot two police officers and one of them was possibly dead."

Armed officers

Defence lawyer Michael Beckman QC said his client denied being the gunman who fired from the back seat of the police patrol car.

Mr Bieber was arrested at a Gateshead hotel by armed officers on New Year's Eve, and a gun and ammunition were found in the room.

Mr Beckman said: "The man in the car, it is clear, had no hesitation whatsoever in shooting his way out of trouble whatever the risks may be to him or to others.

"The man in the hotel didn't make the least attempt to shoot his way out of trouble, despite the fact he had enough of an arsenal to be a great assistance to the Americans in Iraq.

"He made no such attempt and that may be a powerful indication to you that the two men are different."

The trial continues.

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