Accused claims that American friend shot policeman dead but refuses to name him

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The man accused of shooting dead a police officer on Boxing Day last year claimed yesterday that a friend and fellow American had carried out the killing.

The man accused of shooting dead a police officer on Boxing Day last year claimed yesterday that a friend and fellow American had carried out the killing.

David Bieber said he was standing yards from the spot in Leeds where the friend - whom he repeatedly refused to name - sat in a BMW when Constable Ian Broadhurst approached and was shot by him.

The American told Newcastle Crown Court that after fleeing the scene with the friend in another car, he had reloaded the murder weapon then kept it for him, along with 205 rounds of 9mm bullet pistol cartridges. All the ammunition was found, with Mr Bieber's fingerprints on it, in the hotel room where he was arrested five days later.

Mr Bieber, on trial for the policeman's murder, told the court that his friend, a bodybuilder on a visit from Florida, had "really gone out of his way" for him in the past and would be "disgusted" if he named him. "I [also] fear for reprisals against my family," he said. "I could never live with myself if something happened to them."

He said that he hoped the friend would send a recording to prove that an American accent captured on an audio machine in PC Broadhurst's patrol car before the shooting was not Mr Bieber's - as forensic evidence has suggested.

The accused man accepted he had not formally mentionedthe mysterious "Mr X" to the court until four weeks ago. Robert Smith QC, for the prosecution, said: "I suggest, Mr Bieber, that you have carefully constructed your story. You are struggling to meet the evidence against you."

Mr Bieber replied: "I would suggest to you that you are being ridiculous. If I wanted to make up a perfect story [I would]. Man, I don't want to argue with you. I know you are the best prosecutor in the country and you are a genius. I don't want to debate you [on] anything." Mr Bieber said on Boxing Day last year he met Mr X, whom he claimed he has known for 13 years, in a black BMW, which he had purchased for the friend.

He said he went to a post office to buy newspapers and chocolate and then a telephone box to make long-distance calls. He then saw the police car approach the BMW from the telephone box, and was concerned, knowing the car was stolen and the friend was carrying a gun. On hearing gunshots he began walking away from the scene, "confused and shocked". The friend then returned in a green Rover he had hijacked. Mr Bieber jumped into the passenger seat, picked up the gun from floor and said: "Look, don't tell me you've shot anyone." He believed his friend would have been captured on cameras in the patrol car.

After the Rover was abandoned, Mr Bieber gathered £4,500, a passport and a cosh from his flat and went on the run. "I was upset that [my friend] had disrupted my peaceful, tranquil life [but] I didn't want to answer any questions about what he had done. I thought I would go to a different city and lie low for a while."

The friends planned to meet again in Glasgow, Mr Bieber told the court. But he bought coach tickets to Paris to fool detectives, who would be tracking his credit-card payments.

He was arrested at a hotel in Gateshead. "I was really quite confused about why I was being charged," he told the jury. "I thought I would be questioned over 'do you know this man on the video'. I thought they would be looking for the both of us."

Mr Bieber tried to explain away evidence linking him to the crime scene. He said a Racing Post the BMW driver was reading only had his fingerprints on them because the friend wore liquid latex to mask his fingerprints.Mr Bieber denies murdering PC Broadbent and attempting to murder PCs Neil Roper and James Banks. He also denies possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.