Thugs own up to being involved in shooting gang rival

THREE thugs have admitted being involved in an altercation ending in the shooting of a man in a Wallsend street.

Terry March and Michael Curran were on trial at Newcastle Crown Court this week accused of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent, alongside brothers Philip and Kelvin Croney.

However, the trial came to a premature end on Tuesday after March and Curran pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent and Philip Croney admitted conspiracy to commit violent disorder.

No evidence was offered against Kelvin Croney, 28, of Hebburn.

Curran, 30, of Edwin Grove in Wallsend, and March, 30, of no fixed address, changed their pleas to guilty to charges not involving conspiracy.

Philip Croney, 22, of Balmoral Street in Wallsend, admitted conspiracy to commit violent disorder on the basis that he agreed to get involved in a fight using fists, rather than any weapons.

Sentenced was adjourned until next Thursday for reports.

Remanding Curran, March and Philip Croney in custody, Judge John Milford warned them to expect to be jailed, telling them: “You know what the sentence will likely be.”

Their victim, Paul Borg, 25, pictured, was shot in the leg outside his home in Quay View, Willington Quay, last August.

The shooting was the culmination of an argument between two gangs and led to a hail of bullets being fired just yards from where a young girl was playing, the court heard.

Mr Borg had been working on his Renault Megane car outside his home in the early evening when he came under attack.

The girl, aged nine, had been playing in a nearby driveway when Philip Croney, March and Curran arrived looking for Mr Borg.

They had arrived on foot but were chased away by Mr Borg and some friends.

Jurors heard that as the three ran down a cut, Curran fired a handgun twice before handing it to March, who fired once, all the shots missing.

They then got into a waiting car, which was driven back to the scene, and March opened fire again, hitting Mr Borg in the leg once, the court heard.

There had been a history of clashes between Mr Borg and March and the Croney family, but none of those involved had previously pressed charges.

Caroline Goodwin, prosecuting, told jurors on Monday: “Why, you might ask, has Paul Borg agreed to get involved now and speak up?

“The reason is that in the CCTV footage there is a little girl playing in the vicinity of his car, where he had been tinkering with it.

“She was in the vicinity of the area where the handgun was fired.

“Paul Borg, having realised the severity of what has happened and the potential of the little girl to be injured, is now prepared to come forward.”

After the shooting, Mr Borg’s attackers fled to the Cowgate estate in Newcastle.

The following day, they went to Lowestoft in Sussex, and they were later arrested in Liverpool.