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News Guardian, Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fears grow for missing 60-year-old

Mass brawl was sparked by bad blood over shooting the year before By Tegan Chapman

CONCERN is growing for a Wallsend man missing since he left hospital last month. Lawrence Johnson, 60, was reported missing on Thursday, January 12, and was seen in Newcastle the Monday after. He has not made contact with friends or family and he has not been seen since then, however. He is described as white, 5ft 9in tall and of stocky build, with dark grey receding hair. He was last seen wearing a dark blue jumper, jeans and tan work boots and was carrying a light holdall. His family are increasingly concerned for his welfare and are appealing for him to get in touch with them. He has been reported missing before but returned after two weeks. Police are appealing for anyone who thinks they may have seen Mr Johnson to call them on 101 ext 69191.

Have you seen this man?

Florist’s not part of plans THE News Guardian of September 22, 2011, carried a report on a planning application which had been refused by councillors. The report incorrectly stated that the application was for permission to convert the florist’s shop Flowers by the Bay in Cullercoats into a hot food outlet. The application in fact related to an adjoining property. There was never any proposal for Flowers by the Bay to close, and it is continuing to trade as normal. We apologise for the incorrect report and for any adverse effect on the business that we understand it has caused.

MASKED members of rival gangs took part in a mass brawl in a Wallsend street armed with samurai swords, machetes and knives, a court heard this week. The two feuding gangs arranged a fight near the Rosehill pub in Churchill Street in April last year to resolve a dispute over the shooting of Paul Borg in Howdon the year before. Borg, pictured, was shot in August 2010 at his Quay View home in Willington Quay, and rival factions had been taunting each other since then via text messages and the social networking site Facebook. Last April’s clash was so savage that Mark Amis almost lost his life after he suffered a collapsed lung when he was stabbed in the abdomen and side. Each gang recruited reinforcements for the fight and went prepared with weapons, ski masks and balaclavas, the court heard. At least one other person was knifed during the fight, and a car was also used to try to mow down a rival gang member, resulting in a member of the same gang being injured. Prosecutor Brian Hurst told Newcastle Crown Court how Borg had held a grievance against the rival gang after he was shot in the leg. He said: “Borg identified those who had shot him and had to appear as a witness, which caused consternation between the groups. “Having broken the code, he was classed as a grass. “The rival gang then attacked Borg’s home.” Altogether, 17 people have been charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder or violent disorder. Members of one gang appeared at court on Tuesday and Wednesday, and members of the other followed yesterday afternoon and today. Those in the first gang were Borg, 26; Kenneth Smart, 24, and Jonathan Smart, 29, both of Weetslade Crescent, Dudley; Lucy Owen, 21, of Worsley Close, Wallsend; Dean Elliott, 22, of Rossall Road, Blackpool; Genno Davidson, 21, of no fixed abode; Craig Kennedy,

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Knives, swords and machetes used in gang fight, court told 31, of Murray Road, Howdon; Joe Welsh, 20, of Oswin Terrace, North Shields; and Jordan Hammond, 19, of Radnor Gardens, Wallsend. Members of the second gang – Dale Fuller, 24, and Scott Fuller, 21, both of Coldstream Gardens, Wallsend; Michael McNamara, 23, of Windermere Avenue, Bolton; David Amis, 28, and Mark Amis, 23, both of Kendal Gardens, Wallsend; Terry Pomfrey, 20, of Barton Close, Wallsend; and Christopher Terrance, 23, of Bowness Avenue, Wallsend – were due to appear in court after them. The Fullers and the Amises were the ringleaders orchestrating the brawl, said Mr Hurst. Mark Harrison, defending Kenneth Smart, said: “He was not involved in the planning, and he was the only person who did not cross the road to engage in any violence. “Upon sight of a bag containing weapons, he decided enough was enough and it was above and beyond what he thought was going to happen. He then distanced himself by playing no further part in what happened.” Alex Burns, in mitigation for Jonathan Smart, said: “He is a young man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” In defence of Dean Elli-

ott, David Lamb said: “He does not seek to avoid responsibility for the planning of the fight. He agrees that the he supplied some of the disguises and was responsible for recruitment, but he does not accept that he was responsible for stabbing anyone.” James Adkin, representing Lucy Owen, said: “She thought a fight would take place between Elliott and Fuller, but never intended or anticipated a hugescale fight with weapons.” David Comb, for Genno Davidson, said: “There is a distinction between those who were recruiting and those who were recruited. Davidson was one of the recruits. He was drawn into this enterprise.” In mitigation for Mark Dalziel, found guilty after trial, Tony Hawks said: “He has been convicted of conspiracy. There was no evidence he was involved in any violence. He had been out celebrating his birthday the time this took place.” In mitigation for Borg, Jason Pitter said: “He was not part of the planning or recruiting. He does leave the public house at one stage, but he was not involved

in the actual violence. “He was a victim of a shooting and subsequent burglary by a rival gang. The emotional and psychological impact suffered by him as a result of the shooting would have affected him in making decisions in relation to this incident.” Shaun Routledge, for Joe Welsh, said: “That he was part of this group prepared to have this fight, no one would argue, but he came in late, he was not a planner and was not armed. “He was there out of misplaced loyalty to Hammond and Davidson.” Caroline Goodwin, for Jordan Hammond, said: “These events which he finds himself involved in were not his idea. It was fully anticipated that there was going to be a fight using fists.” Jeff Smith, for Craig Kennedy, also convicted after trial, said: “There was no suggestion he was involved in the planning or came into contact with any weapon.” Judge Paul Sloan is due to sentence the 17 gang members on Monday. A cache of weapons was found by police at David Amis’s house after the fight, including three swords, three knives and a truncheon. At the Fullers’ home, they found an axe, pickaxe, sword, two metal bars and balaclavas. Machetes, swords, knives were also found in hedges and gardens near where the fight took place. The case continues.

Cameras roll again at former shipyard OFFICES at Wallsend’s former Swan Hunter shipyard have been transformed into a 1970s CID department for a new film. TallTree Pictures are in the middle of creating Harrigan, a crime thriller set in the north east and starring Stephen Tompkinson. The film, about a firm but fair Newcastle lawman, is based on the real-life experiences of writer Arthur McKenzie, a police officer for over 30 years. Tompkinson plays Barry

Harrigan, a cop returning to his patch after an 18-month secondment in Hong Kong. Tompkinson, 46, said: “Harrigan sees the place he cares about has gone to rack and ruin, and he needs to clean it up. “He believes in a physical presence on the streets, and he sets about taking on the bullies. “Harrigan is a complex character, and it will be a fantastic role to play.” The Swan Hunter site also featured as a police station in the TV series Vera.

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Sports clubs fear increased charges could spell the end n From Page 1 a healthy lifestyle. It’s no good putting the fees up. You are just forcing people to join cheaper clubs outside North Tyneside.” However, Michael McIntyre, the council’s Conservative group leader, said: “The bowling greens cost £190,000 a year to maintain. “Taxpayers are subsidising everybody who takes part in bowling to the tune of £500 per club. The charges would increase from 64p a week to £1.64 a week in two years. “Most people will think it’s not unreasonable to ask clubs to at least pay the grounds maintenance. “If the clubs can find someone to do it cheaper, then fine.” Clubs – such as Whitley Bay’s Souter Bowling Club and Whitley Bay and Monkseaton Bowling Club – say they now face a fight to survive. George Allpress, secretary of Whitley Bay and Monkseaton Bowling Club, said it was awaiting the outcome of the budget discussions but had already been in talks about the potential implications. “Every bowling club will have to increase their fees to the individual to cover the cost the council will levy on them,” he said. “We have two greens, so these fees will be doubled. “It’s unlikely it will put people off playing this year, but our concern is mainly for the second and third years of the increases. “We’ve got quite a healthy membership, but those with fewer members will see higher rises to meet the new green fees. “We’ve also heard that the council is going to close five bowling clubs, but we don’t know which ones.” n Council tenants facing rent rises of nine per cent – Page 4

Wrong date A REPORT in last week’s News Guardian about an assault by Anthony Baynes, 38, on a former acquaintance stated that the attack was carried out in North Shields in October. It did in fact take place in June. We apologise for any confusion caused.

High tide times

Arthur McKenzie, left , in Wallsend with Stephen Tompkinson, star of TV dramas including Grafters.

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