A POSSE of up to 20 men murdered Marcus Innocent – an "innocent" man who was gunned down in Woolwich last year in "cold blood", a court heard today (September 26).

The 35-year-old, of Kingsman Street, was fatally shot in the stomach with a shotgun after stumbling into a feud between two groups of men on November 19, the Old Bailey jury was told.

It happened in Lord Warwick Street at around 6.20pm after Mr Innocent - a student at a Woolwich college - was attacked by a "posse" who dragged him into a nearby car park, the court heard.

Nine defendants are all charged with his murder as well as possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

The court heard how the vandalising of defendant Jack Brennan’s car prompted around 20 men – armed with a loaded shotgun – to drive from Kidbrooke to Woolwich on November 19.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett said: "Mr Innocent was, indeed, just that - an innocent man caught up in a feud between two groups of young men from different parts of south east London.

"Jack Brennan didn’t think of going to the police. Instead, with the help of his brother Patrick, Jack Brennan rounded up a posse of up to 20 young men for a trip to Woolwich.

"If the defendants’ group had been looking to make a point, they might, I suppose, have carried a gun with them in order simply to scare the opposition.

"But the evidence suggests that the defendants’ group were not intent on empty threats - the shotgun was loaded."

He went on to say Keli-Ray Birch tried to call ‘Woolwich Boy’ Curtis Cowan, known as Curly, to the scene as a "trap".

Mr Aylett said: "It was at this point that the victim, Marcus Innocent, who lived nearby and used to hang around a parade of shops off Lord Warwick Street, stumbled across the path of this rather menacing looking group of men.

"Mr Innocent must have realised Curly was being lured into a trap by an angry mob.

"As Mr Innocent tried to walk away, a fight broke out.

"Mr Innocent was dragged from the pavement into the entrance of a car park.

"Mr Innocent, you may think, had defied the defendants’ group by refusing to help them to get their hands on Curly – and for this, he was shot in the stomach with the shotgun."

He said Birch was the principal attacker but others joined in before Mr Innocent was dragged into the car park, where there was no CCTV or eyewitnesses.

All nine of the accused deny the charges but the court was told Burgess confessed to his estranged wife and later a prison officer that he had shot Mr Innocent, claiming it was an accident. He also claimed another man, Perry Sutton brought the gun in the first place.

News Shopper: Forensics at the scene after a fatal shooting in Lord Warwick Street, Woolwich

Mr Aylett told the court: "In the course of this confession, Burgess had claimed that Marcus Innocent had tried to take the gun from him and the gun had gone off by accident.

"It may be that Daniel Burgess has told himself this story so many times that he has come to believe it.

"It is the prosecution’s case that, egged on by the size of the group around him, Burgess shot Marcus Innocent in cold blood."

He went on to say the gun was fired twice with one shot missing the target, but stressed the group as a whole were "in it together".

Mr Aylett said: "What occurred was a joint enterprise. They were all in it together."

The accused include Daniel Burgess, aged 33, of Lansdowne Lane, Charlton and Perry Lee Sutton, aged 25, of Green Street Green Road, Dartford, who has also been charged with possession of a pump-action shotgun and possession of ammunition without a certificate.

Also on trial are Richard Brennan, aged 29, of Elmdene Road, Plumstead, and his brothers Jack Brennan, 21, and Patrick Brennan, 23, of Appleton Road, Kidbrooke.

Raffael Scialo, aged 24, of Eastbrook Road, Charlton, 20-year-old John Kiddle, of Merifield Road, Kidbrooke; Keli-Ray Birch, aged 20, of Maple Tree Place, Corelli Road, Shooters Hill and Jordan John-McKenna, aged 20, of Glenluce Road, Blackheath, are also charged with the murder.

The trial continues.