'Ex-rugby star was shot in professional killing'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A former professional rugby league player who was "heavily in debt" through gambling and knew he was in "deep trouble" was killed by a professional assassin's bullet in a busy pub during a children's disco, a court heard yesterday.

Despite his sporting success, David Nelson, 38, knew that his gambling debts were catching up with him as he stood at the bar of the Wilson's Arms, in Seacroft, Leeds, on 22 July last year.

A masked gunman burst in and shot Mr Nelson in the head. The gunman also killed 39-year-old Joseph Montgomery, who attempted to apprehend the killer, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Paul Bryan, 41, of Blackpool, denies the murders of Mr Nelson and Mr Montgomery and the attempted murder of Andrew Nelson, Mr Nelson's brother, who witnessed the shooting and was shot at when he ran towards the gunman.

"This was not a chance killing of David Nelson," Jeremy Richardson QC, for the prosecution, said. "It was a clearly planned killing of murderous intent executed with brutality and determination. If anyone got in the way they would get it, too. The gunman fled the premises. He jumped into a waiting car and was driven off at speed. Throughout he never spoke."

Days before he was killed, Mr Nelson was shot at outside the Wilson's Arms by another gunman but was not seriously injured, the court heard.

Mr Bryan was alleged to have been in the Wilson's Arms shortly before the shootings took place "checking" to make sure Mr Nelson was there and to "differentiate" him from his brother.

Gun residue was found on the cuffs of a jacket that was later discovered at the Leeds home of Mr Bryan's girlfriend.

The prosecution also claims that Mr Bryan "confessed" to a prison guard and a prisoner that he carried out the killings.

The case continues.