Witnesses have described in court hearing a loud bang and a balaclava-wearing man fleeing the scene after a man was shot in the back of the head with a shotgun.

Mark Walsh, 35, was shot at close range in an alleyway at the back of his home in Maudsley Street, Accrington shortly before 9pm on January 12, a trial has heard.

Kevin King, 30, Donovan Wallace, 26, and Jack Wilding, 20, deny conspiracy to commit murder.

Mr Wallace and Mr Wilding have both pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.

Peter Potts, a resident on Maudsley Street, told the hearing at Preston Crown Court that he was walking back home from a Spar shop when he heard a noise and ‘only a second or two later’ saw a man walk out of an alleyway wearing dark clothes and a balaclava.

He told the jury at Preston Crown Court: “It actually sounded like a cannon when it had gone off.

“It made me jump out of my skin. It actually made me jump.

“I carried on towards the alleyway when a figure came out wearing dark clothes and balaclavad up.

“He had a gun. I could tell by the way his hand was positioned. It looked like a full-length shotgun.”

Mr Potts told the court that he then saw Mr Walsh ‘on the floor in the alleyway pushing himself up’ but ‘didn’t think he was hurt’ so carried on home.

He said a resident then asked if he ‘heard a bang’ and when he turned round the ‘shotgun man’ was gone.

A young woman who said she was also walking home down Dowry Street told the jury that she also saw a man running up the street wearing ‘all black’ and a balaclava.

She told the court: “He was carrying something under his arm tucked into his body. I thought it was a crowbar at first.”

The court heard that the man passed ‘within a metre of her’ and she was speaking to a friend on her mobile phone at the time.

Derek Brindle, who said he was walking from the Spar shop along Arago Street, told the court: “I heard a bang. I thought it was a firework. It was pretty loud to make me wonder what it was.”

Mr Brindle said he then heard ‘heavy running’ and saw a man run round the corner to a parked car on Arago Street and then ‘shielding his face’ drove off up Robert Street.

Voluntary worker Ian Smith, who lives on Arnold Street, said he earlier saw a black car with two people car park up on Arnold Street after pulling out of an alleyway behind Maudsley Street.

In a statement read out in court he said: “It stayed there for a couple of minutes with the engine running.

“The passenger was just looking at the alleyway.

“The passenger seemed to be paying attention to the area. He looked at me and saw me looking. He didn’t want me to see his face.”

Mr Smith said he was waiting for a taxi at the time and when he later returned home found the area was cordoned off.

Mr Walsh was showered with 100 pellets and survived the blast, but has been left ‘profoundly deaf’ and requires hearing aids in both ears, the court was told.

The court earlier this week was told that a ‘history of animosity’ centring around a defendant’s ex-partner and child had led to the shooting.

The court was told that Mr King, of Lodge Lane, Lytham St Annes, was unhappy that after a break up, his ex and four-year-old daughter had started living with Mr Walsh.

Mr King had previously been given a restraining order against his ex after making abusive phone calls and threats, on one occasion stating that he would ‘put a bullet’ in her and Mr Walsh, the court heard.

It is claimed that Mr King sought the help of his friend and fellow lorry driver Donovan Wallace, 26, of Lodge Lane, Lytham St Annes, to carry out the shooting and that Jack Wilding, 20, of no fixed abode, was also recruited to assist in the act.

All three defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and Mr Wallace and Mr Wilding are also charged with attempted murder. The three deny all charges.