Rushden attempted murder trial: Men deny blasting man in back with shotgun

Two men been found guilty of blasting a man in the back with a shotgun on a Rushden street
Two men been found guilty of blasting a man in the back with a shotgun on a Rushden street

Two men have gone on trial accused of blasting a man in the back with a shotgun on a Rushden street.

Narinder Sondhi, 36, and Masimba Tinofirei, 19, both deny attempting to murder Keith Phillips, who was shot in the back as he fled two masked attackers.

He was left with head and face injuries in Hayway at about 6am on July 5 last year.

Sondhi, of The Hedges, Rushden, and Tinofirei, of Maple Road, Rushden, both deny being the masked men who jumped from a car to confront Mr Phillips and a friend he was with.

But as their trial opened at Birmingham Crown Court, prosecutor Vincent Coughlin QC said mobile phone evidence and CCTV footage showed Sondhi and Tinofirei were together in Rushden at the time of the attack.

And he said police searches of their homes had uncovered balaclavas and blue latex gloves similar to those worn by the attackers.

Mr Coughlin said: “The prosecution are not able to prove the reason for the attack.

“The Crown’s case is Masimba Tinofirei and Narinder Sondhi attempted to murder Keith Phillips.

“They had taken a firearm and taken steps to disguise themselves because they were fully aware of the gravity of what they intended to do.”

The court heard Mr Phillips and his friend, Russell Danes, both lived in Rushden.

The pair were walking along Hayway shortly before 6am on July 5.

Mr Danes was caught on CCTV moments before the attack saying to Mr Phillips: “People are going to get f***** up soon, I mean in the next day or two.”

Mr Coughlin said a silver Renault Megane drove past the friends before stopping and reversing.

Two men, who it is alleged were Sondhi and Tinofirei, then jumped out wearing balaclavas and blue latex-like gloves.

One of the men was armed with a 12-bore shotgun.

CCTV footage played to the jury showed Mr Phillips and Mr Danes walking past the camera before, off-screen, a car reversing, an altercation between the four men and then a shotgun blast could be heard.

Mr Coughlin said Mr Phillips tried to run from the scene but, having taken about 12 steps, was shot in the back.

The side of his face and head were both peppered with shotgun pellets which had to be surgically removed.

Both attackers fled in the silver Renault Megane.

Tinofirei was arrested the next day while Sondhi was arrested on July 7.

A third man, Calvin Scott, denies a charge of perverting the course of justice over an allegation he helped dispose of the Megane.

The vehicle was found ablaze near Chelveston Airfield on July 7.

Mr Coughlin said mobile phones seized from Sondhi’s and Tinofirei’s homes revealed the pair had been in contact leading up to the attack.

CCTV also showed a silver Renault Megane arriving at a flat in Newton Road, Rushden, before and after the attack.

Mr Coughlin said it was the Crown’s case the two men in the vehicle were Tinofirei and Sondhi, who had planned the attempted murder at the flat.

In police interviews all three men denied any involvement with the silver Renault Megane or the attack on Mr Phillips.

The trial is expected to last about 12 days.