One of three men accused of taking part in a burglary in which a high-flying Sible Hedingham insurance executive was shot told Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday that he took part in the raid after being threatened by the alleged gun man.
Giving evidence at the end of the fourth week of the trial Christopher Bergin, 27, told the jury he was fleeing the building when he heard a bang.
“I didn’t want to be in the situation. I just wanted to get away. I heard a bang as I was running away,” he said.
Victim Timothy Mardon, 51, was shot in the leg through the bedroom door of his £3 million mansion on February 6 at the Old Rectory, Sible Hedingham.
Accused are Charlie Simms, 22, of North Road in Great Yeldham, Kalebh Shreeve, 23, of Gibson Road, Sible Hedingham and Bergin, of Hawkwood Road, Sible Hedingham.
Simms has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and all three pleaded not guilty to aggravated burglary, wounding with intent, possessing a firearm while committing an offence and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Bergin said Simms had been at his home earlier with the gun and had shot a hole in the stair carpet. He said they had left the house together and that Simms thought they would find cannabis at the Old Rectory.
Bergin said: “He had been telling me to go with him. He was threatening me - I was scared. I was trying to stop him going there.”
However, he said they climbed the wall of the house and went to the property and continued : “Charlie smashed a window with the butt of the gun and I went in first and he came in behind.
“Charlie told me to ‘find the weed’ and I just walked into a room. Charlie walked up the stairs and called my name three times. I walked up the stairs, he was standing on the landing by the bedroom door. He said the door was locked, I told him I heard something and I said I was going to the next room.
“I passed the bedroom door and ran down the stairs, ran into the library, pulled up a window and jumped out.
“I ran to the wall and jumped over. I last saw Charlie on the top of the stairs. I heard a bang - I thought it was a kick to the door.”
The whereabouts of the gun used remains a mystery.
Bergin told the court that at one stage he shared a cell with co-accused, Charlie Simms, who is accused of carrying out the shooting. He said that Simms told him where he had allegedly dumped the gun.
However, the court was told a sketch prepared by Bergin that was said to show where the gun was did not lead to its discovery.
Bergin told the court: “He [Simms] told me where I believed was the location of the gun. It was on the second day of induction when we were in a cell together.
“I said I was going to get bail and said I’d go and move the gun and put it somewhere else. It wasn’t a genuine offer.
“He said it was in a ditch in Yeldham. He didn’t tell me anything else. After I moved from the cell, I asked for a security alert - to keep him away.
“I genuinely thought the gun was there. I was seeking for the police to go there and find it and provided a sketch plan. It was my decision alone to speak to a detective.”
However, the court heard, the gun was never found.
The hearing continues.