Alleged drugs gang brought violence to Seaton, a court is told

Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

Four defendants deny a series of charges including possession of a gun, kidnap and grievous bodily harm

A drugs gang allegedly used a potentially lethal gun to carry out a series of violent offences in Seaton.

Jamie Channing shot an innocent passer-by and used the gun to smash the windows of a woman who he was trying to recruit as a dealer, Exeter Crown Court was told.

He and a group of associates allegedly went on to kidnap the woman and to attack a man who Channing claimed owed him money for drugs.

The high powered BB gun and 1,500 ball bearings had been bought from a sports shop in Seaton and the purchase started two days of violence.

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Jamie Channing, aged 27, of Prince Charles Close, Launceston, denied two counts of causing grievous bodily harm (gbh), two counts of kidnap, possessing a BB gun with intent to cause fear of violence, and aggravated burglary.

Sean Currie, aged 51, of Fore Street, Seaton, denies two counts of kidnap, one of gbh, aggravated burglary and theft.

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Howard Dwyer, aged 28, of Malvern Road, Sidmouth, denies kidnap and aggravated burglary.

Troy Coaker, aged 24, of Harbour Road, Seaton, denies one count of kidnap and one of gbh.

Mr David Sapiecha, prosecuting, said the background to the case was Channing’s involvement in drug dealing. The violence was directed to trying to recruit a dealers in one case and enforcing a debt in another.

He said: “Our case is that Channing’s crew were attempting to throw their weight around in the area. They were acting aggressively and violently. The most likely cause is the illegal trade in drugs.

“One victim was caught up despite not being involved. The other two were associates of the gang who were subjected to threats and violence.

“The BB gun looked real enough and would have been frightening to anyone confronted with it in real time. It would be frightening if pointed at someone with threats to shoot.

“The police have tested an identical weapon and classified it as a firearm, which means it has lethal capacity.”

Mr Sapiecha said the bulk of the offences took place within two days of the realistic-looking .177 BB gun being bought under a false name from Seaton Sports and Leisure.

He said the gun was bought at 1.05 pm by a couple who are thought to be Channing and his girlfriend Ashton Wills. She gave the surname of Brooks and an address a few doors away from that of her mother in Chestnut Avenue Exeter.

Mr Sapiecha said a woman called Nicola White, who was completely unconnected with the case, was shot at in Summersby Close, Seaton, later that afternoon when she went to pick up a dog from her mother.

He said: “We say Channing was in the area with a car full of people. He appeared to be in an aggravated and intemperate state and he had with his a powerful BB gun.

“He shot at Ms White’s car a number of times, clearly aiming at the occupant inside and shattering the driver and passenger windows and hitting her on her hand between her fingers.

“She drove away from him as fast as she could. One can only imagine her feelings at the time.”

Mr Sapiecha said Channing then went to the nearby home of Lynette Cullen, who he was angry with because she had refused to sell drugs for him.

He fired the gun at the windows of her home, breaking them, before smashing down her front door and entering with Dwyer as Currie waited outside.

Channing searched for valuables, money and drugs before he, Dwyer and Currie forced her to drive them to Exeter, where she managed to escape when they visited a Subway store at Sowton.

The next day a man called Jason Richards, who was in dispute with Channing over a drug debt, was forced into a BMW car outside the Malthouse pub in Seaton and driven to lock-up in the country at Leggetts Lane, Axmouth.

Mr Sapiecha said Mr Richards had suffered bullying in the past and his television had been stolen and on this occasion her was severely beaten by Channing, Currie and Coaker

He said all four men deny being involved. Channing says he never had the gun. He and Currie say Miss Cullen went with them voluntarily, and neither assaulted Mr Richards.

Dwyer says he did nothing wrong at Miss Cullen’s house. Coaker says he did not assault Mr Richards and got out of the car before it reached the lock-up.

The trial continues .

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