A man accused of gunning down a youth in Sheffield admitted he ‘went to ground’ - but claimed it was because he was scared of being arrested for growing cannabis.
Darren Whitehead, aged 26, denies attempting to murder Jordan Porter and said he ‘panicked’ because he’d been driving his van in the area at the time and didn’t want police to discover he was running a cannabis factory.
He told jurors at Sheffield Crown Court: “I did panic, I’m not going to lie. I did stop using my phone and I stopped using the van.”
Mr Porter, aged 19 at the time, was shot in the legs at 9.50pm on Cuthbert Bank Road, Hillsborough, on October 22 last year.
The prosecution say he was attacked by Whitehead and Jamie Lee Howden, 22, as part of a dispute two days after shots were fired at three men in Donovan Close, Parson Cross.
Whitehead, of Oxspring Bank, Shirecliffe, said he heard about the shooting via a text message from a friend who said his pal Ryan Howden was implicated.
Whitehead admitted being in Cuthbert Bank Road at the time but said he wasn’t involved, and denied knowing Mr Porter.
He said: “I was pretty shocked it was something to do with Ryan but I wasn’t shocked about the shooting - over the last couple of years it has been a regular thing on Parson Cross.”
Whitehead said he was scared police would discover he was growing 57 cannabis plants at a lock-up in Hoyland, Barnsley, and he’d have to go to prison.
Prosecutor Peter Moulson QC asked Whitehead why he had refused to answer questions in his police interviews if he’d done nothing wrong.
Whitehead said: “I should have answered. The reason I didn’t was that I didn’t want to go to prison for the cannabis plants.”
Mr Moulson said: “Are you telling us that you thought the consequences for possessing cannabis and attempted murder were in the same league?”
The trial continues.