Beds, Herts & Bucks

Facebook 'grass' shot in Bedford 'saved by luck'

A man survived an attempt on his life "by simple luck and good fortune" after he was labelled as a police "grass" on Facebook, a jury has heard.

Domenico Masciopinto was shot four times outside his Bedford home after doctored images of his police record were put on the site.

Brothers Malik Blackburn, 26, and Aaron Romain, 24, both deny attempted murder in January 2011.

St Albans Crown Court heard Mr Masciopinto's wife Gulia called 999.

Prosecutor Amjad Malik QC told the jury: "Mr Masciopinto survived the attempt on his life by simple chance and good fortune.

"One bullet lodged in his chest. A second lodged in his wrist. A third bullet went straight through his wrist and possibly a fourth struck the chest."

'Severe risk'

The court heard Mr Blackburn had contacted a civilian detention and escort officer at Bedfordshire Police, Jonpaul Pasqualone.

It is alleged he paid Mr Pasqualone to access Mr Masciopinto's record on a police computer system.

The court heard Mr Pasqualone took an image of the record on his mobile phone and placed a heading above it of "Police informant since 2009", Mr Malik said.

The doctored record was then put on a Facebook profile under the name of James Parker, putting Mr Masciopinto at "severe risk", the jury was told.

Mr Malik said: "You can imagine the criminal fraternity in this country do not take kindly to those who provide confidential information to the police.

"Mr Masciopinto was not a police informant and this led him to make inquiries as to who had done this."

'Lock the door'

Mr Masciopinto came to the conclusion it was Mr Blackburn and tried to confront him at his home, the court heard.

Mr Blackburn's girlfriend called Mr Romain and asked him to come round, and he arrived shortly after Mr Masciopinto gave up and left.

It is alleged that the brothers then drove to Mr Masciopinto's home.

Mrs Masciopinto heard a noise on the gravel outside and opened the door to find her husband fall through and say "lock the door, lock the door", the court heard.

Mr Malik said Mrs Masciopinto saw a man holding a black pistol with a silencer at the end.

Mr Blackburn has also denied conspiracy to commit an act of misconduct in a public office.

The trial continues.

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