'I didn't know there was a killer in my car'
AN alleged getaway driver for one of the Stapleton Road gunmen has denied knowing he had a murderer – or a firearm – in his car.
Tafari Adams is one of three people on trial for helping offenders when Rico Gordon lost his life in the early hours of July 3, 2011.
The 21-year-old was caught in the crossfire after an argument at the Coach House pub resulted in three men firing shots at each other near the junction with Fox Road.
Mr Gordon died from a ricocheted bullet to the head and last year Shakah Anderson and Rickel Adams, both from London, were convicted of murder and jailed for life.
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It is believed Anderson and Adams were firing at each other and a third gunman, on Anderson's side, has never been identified.
Sean Youngsam, 26, and Courtney Ellis, 28, deny helping Anderson leave Bristol an hour after the shooting. Tafari Adams, Rickel's uncle, denies driving him away from the scene of the crime in a hired Alfa Romeo.
Yesterday, Bristol Crown Court heard evidence from Tafari, who was also Mr Gordon's step uncle.
The 29-year-old told the jury the evening before the shooting he drove from London to the St Paul's carnival, giving a lift to Mr Gordon, Mr Gordon's cousin Pharell and a friend called Aric Ramsey.
In the early hours of July 4, they went to an after-party at The Coach House. Tafari told the jury Anderson and a man called Jonathan Cain had an argument inside the pub.
He said: "I didn't see anyone exchanging blows or grabbing onto anyone, so I just believed it was a petty argument basically."
CCTV shown in court showed Rickel was also close to the confrontation.
At 4.03am, a fire-fight broke out at the junction with Fox Road.
Tafari said he was talking to a girl when he saw two gunmen, with hoods concealing their faces, and ducked behind a car for cover.
"I saw someone running across the road at me, shooting a gun," he said. "It was just a load of loud bangs. I could hear running, screaming and cars driving off."
He said Mr Cain came over to see how he was and after checking himself for wounds, he got in the car to drive off. He told the jury Rickel was already in the front passenger seat and Pharell jumped into the back soon afterwards.
They then sped off towards the M32, believing Mr Gordon had jumped into someone else's car. In fact, he was lying on the ground at the junction of Fox Road with a fatal head wound.
"At that point I was just scared and frightened and I wanted to get away from there," Tafari said. "I wasn't aware that Rico had been shot."
He said he had not seen Rickel, who had been shot in the leg, load a weapon or fire any shots.
When asked why he didn't take Rickel to a Bristol hospital, Tafari said: "He didn't want to stop, he said 'Just get me back to London'."
Tafari said he had intended to stop at Swindon or Reading hospitals, before eventually taking him to one in Ealing.
Cross-examining, prosecutor Kate Brunner put it to him he had deliberately waited for Rickel to get into the car and knew he was one of the gunmen. She also alleged that was the reason why, at no point did he call 999, and had never given police an account of what happened that night.
But Tafari denied protecting Adams, or helping him get away.
The case continues.