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Man shot in Elephant and Castle for ‘smoking too much of joint’, court heard

A drinker shot an acquaintance in a packed Elephant and Castle pub for smoking too much of a cannabis joint they were sharing, a court heard this week.

Robert Mortby, 28, of no fixed address, opened fire in front of revellers and a hen party in the Rose and Crown pub in Rodney Road on July 28, 2012, it is claimed.

Richard Walsh was hit twice in the abdomen, where the bullets are still lodged, while another bullet grazed the leg of his friend, Christopher Green.

Mortby fled the scene after the alleged Saturday night shooting and was on the run until he agreed to be extradited from Spain in September last year, the court heard.

Prosecutor Zoe Johnson QC said: “The two men lived in the same area and it appears had something of a drugs connection. Richard Walsh had shared a joint with an acquaintance of his, this defendant Robert Mortby.

“Mr Walsh believes that because he either smoked too much of that joint of cannabis or didn’t give the cannabis back Robert Mortby became annoyed with him.

“You might think it is unlikely to have been something quite so inconsequential. Whatever the truth as to why this shooting took place, we suggest the evidence demonstrates the defendant and his brother, David Mortby, entered the Rose and Crown pub that night, where this defendant shot Richard Walsh without warning.”

The court heard that Mr Walsh had not seen Mortby since they shared a joint a week or two earlier. At around 4pm on July 28, he claims he saw Mortby’s brother on the street, then spent the evening drinking with Mr Green in the Rose and Crown pub. Between 8pm and 9pm that night, Mr Walsh saw David Mortby again, this time staring through the pub window, and then at around 10.30pm he noticed Robert Mortby standing outside the pub.

Mr Walsh went into the toilets with his friend and asked him to take him home, but when they emerged they saw Mortby come into the pub.

The prosecutor said: “Mr Walsh said the defendant had a stern expression on his face and that he ‘zoned into me’. He put his hands into the air and said he didn’t want any trouble.”

Mr Walsh was hit from behind with a bottle and when he turned round saw David Mortby leaving through the back door, the court heard.

“Immediately after Richard Walsh had been hit on the back of the head with the bottle, the Crown’s case is this defendant then shot Richard Walsh at close range. Mr Walsh fell back into a chair. It would appear three shots were fired.”

The court heard Mr Walsh did not see who shot him, but Ms Johnson added: ‘The prosecution case is that although Richard Walsh didn’t see who actually pulled the trigger, it’s clear he was cornered by the Mortby brothers and we suggest shot by this defendant, Richard Mortby.”

Mortby, of no fixed address, denies attempted murder and possession of a firearm on July 28. His brother pleaded guilty to affray.

The trial continues…

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