I never heard about gun, murder jury told

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A MAN told a murder trial jury yesterday that a friend who shot a man in the street had never mentioned to him that he had a gun.

Sohail Mahmood said he spoke by phone to Afzal Arif wanting to know if he was coming to join him and others at Savile Park in Chapeltown, Leeds, and in one call Afzal asked if he had seen “Nasty” the nickname of Gavin Clarke, the man later shot.

“I said ‘why?’ and he said ‘because he’s going to get it,’” he told Leeds Crown Court.

He told the jury he did not really say anything in response before the call was cut off. Arif rang back within a few minutes and Mahmood said he asked him what he meant by his comment.

“He said ‘I’m going to scare him’, I said ‘don’t do anything stupid’.” Mahmood said he asked who was with Arif because he assumed he meant he was going to rush Mr Clarke with a few others, because if he went on his own he would be knocked out by Mr Clarke, a boxer who was “well fit”, but was told he was on his own.

“Did it ever cross your mind he was going to get him by shooting him?” asked his counsel, Simon Bourne-Arton QC. “When he used the expression ‘get it’ that he might kill him?”

“No, not at all,” replied Mahmood.

He denied he was recruited in any way to help Arif by supplying information about Mr Clarke’s whereabouts and said he would not have approved of him having a gun, particularly in Savile Avenue where he had relatives living and there were children playing.

Later after hearing a bang nearby he got another call from Arif, who was panicking saying he thought he had shot Mr Clarke and claiming he had not meant to.

Arif, 24, of Elford Grove, Harehills, Leeds, has denied murdering Mr Clarke, 34, but has admitted his manslaughter and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Mahmood, 23 of Savile Road, Chapeltown, denies all three charges. Shahid Hussain, 32, of Harrogate Road, Alwoodley, Leeds, and Ibrar Din, 23, of Mexborough Street, Chapeltown, both deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Clarke died four days after he was shot last August.

The trial continues.