Sheffield attempted murder suspect ‘in bed’ at time of shooting

Police close the city centre bound side of the A61 at the junction with Leppings Lane
Police close the city centre bound side of the A61 at the junction with Leppings Lane

A man accused of being part of a dramatic Sheffield murder bid involving a car chase and masked gunmen has said he was asleep in bed at the time of incident.

Gavin Bennett is alleged to have been the driver of a VW Golf carrying two gunmen who attempted to kill a man called Jamie Howden in a chase down Southey Green Road, Halifax Road and Penistone Road at 2pm on January 20 this year.

Mr Howden was shot in the leg through the door of the Seat Leon he was a passenger in.

Bennett, aged 35 and of Maun Way, Firth Park, declined to give evidence in his defence to a jury at Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday.

But details of an interview he gave to police after being arrested were earlier read out in court.

Bennett initially gave a no comment interview after being arrested on January 26.

But he was told the following day that he had been picked out in an identity parade as the driver of the Golf by Nathan Marples, who was driving the Seat Leon that Mr Howden was in.

Bennett told police: “He is either lying or mistaken by putting me in the car I wasn’t in.

“I have got no reason why - he must have mistakenly put me there.”

When asked where he was on the day of the incident, Bennett said: “I would be in bed but I can’t be 100 per cent about that as well. I have had to rack my brain and it’s just blurring into one.”

He said he had been suffering from depression which is why he had been going to bed in the afternoon.

The court also heard that the VW Golf was found burnt out in Parson Cross shortly after the incident and police had been unable to obtain any forensic evidence from it because of the condition it was in.

DC Christopher Campbell, the officer in charge of the investigation, accepted under cross-examination there was no DNA or fingerprint evidence against Bennett, as well as no evidence from his phone indicating any involvement or that the mobile had been present at the scene of the incident.

Christopher Dunn, representing Bennett, said: “The only evidence in this case against Mr Bennett comes from Mr Marples’ identification of him as the driver.”

DC Campbell agreed that the was the case.

Bennett denies attempted murder and an alternative count of wounding with intent.