The second defendant in the M62 gun conspiracy trial has told a jury he was shocked to find out afterwards that his friend Yassar Yaqub was armed with a gun.

Giving evidence today, Rexhino Arapaj, 28, of Thornlea Road, Huddersfield, told the jury he came to the UK from Albania when he was 14 and was granted exceptional leave to remain.

He met Mr Yaqub, the man who was shot dead by police on an M62 sliproad, at school in Huddersfield and they used to play football together.

They reminded friends and Arapaj worked as a handyman for Yaqub's father, a businessman who owned houses, a clothes shop and a car trading company.

Arapaj said he had gone with Mr Yaqub to meetings before the trip to Bradford on January 2, 2017.

He had waited for Mr Yaqub in the car in Keighley, Manchester, Huddersfield and Bradford. Mr Yaqub told him the meeting at Cafe de Akbar was about money he was owed for a car.

Mr Yaqub asked him to go with him because he did not trust the man he was meeting.

Arapaj told the court Mr Yaqub drove him in his Scirocco and David Butlin, 39, of Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth, joined them. They went to the Cedar Court hotel near junction 24 of the M62 at Ainley Top, near Huddersfield, where Mr Yaqub jumped out of the car.

Butlin, who is also on trial denying conspiracy to possess firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life, then drove the Scirocco and Arapaj got into the passenger seat.

Asked by his barrister Abdul Iqbal QC if he questioned Mr Yaqub about what was happening, Arapaj said he would have been told to mind his own business.

"He was a secretive guy. Every time I asked him (in the past) he brushed me off," he said.

Arapaj said he saw nothing unusual about the meeting at Cafe de Akbar.

Afterwards, Mr Yaqub said: 'everything is sorted. Let's go back.'

When armed police stopped them, Arapaj said: 'I was terrified. I did not know what was going on.'

He accepted that the police shouted a warning and he put up his hands.

Asked by Mr Iqbal: 'On the second of January had you armed yourself with any kind of weapon?'

Arapaj replied: 'no sir.'

Asked: 'Did you know that Dave had any kind of weapon with him?'

He again replied 'no sir' and again to: 'Did you know that anyone was in possession of any kind of weapon or ammunition?' He said: 'no sir.'

He agreed he lied to the police about what happened that day.

'I had never seen something like that. I was told my friend had been shot dead and that he was carrying a gun in the car.'

When his solicitor told him Yassar had a firearm, he was shocked.

'I did not expect it.' He never thought he had anything to do with drugs or firearms. When asked: 'had you heard the name Meggy when you set off for Bradford?' He replied: 'no sir."

"I didn't know he had a gun, a person like that. I did not know what went on in the meeting. I was scared. I was in shock that he was armed like that.' Mr Iqbal asked: 'when was the first time that you realised that Yasser Yaqub may be involved with drugs and firearms?'

Arapaj replied: "When I was in the cells and arrested for possession of a firearm.'

Cross-examined by Mr Moulson, Arapaj said he had thought of Mr Yaqub as a brother.

He assumed he was wealthy because of the cars he drove and his clothes. 'It wasn't clothes like I was wearing,' he said. Mr Moulson suggested: 'you would have helped him with anything?'

Arapaj replied: 'if he told me he had a knife, 'go hurt someone' i would not do that.

Asked: 'did you know he had body armour in his bedroom and a machete under his bed,' Arapaj said: 'no sir.'

He continued: ' I had Yassar in my head as completely different.'

He added: 'I had never been involved in drugs, guns or anything like that.'

Asked why he lied to the police, he repeated that he was scared. 'I realised what kind of people I was dealing with. I did not know before.'

Asked by Mr Moulson: 'Did you ever ask him (Mr Yaqub) where the money came from?'

Arapaj answered: 'no sir.

He would have said 'you ask too many questions' and he would stop speaking to me.'

After the luncheon adjournment, Mr Moulson put it to Arapaj: 'you knew that some sort of violence was going to take place and you knew that your best friend Yassar had a firearm, didn't you?'

Answer: 'No.'

Mr Moulson said Arapaj presented 'a wall of silence' to the police because he was 'Being loyal to Yassar to the end.'

Arapaj said he had been afraid all the time he was on bail.

'I am still frightened now,' he added.

At 2.30pm, Mr Justice Turner sent the jury home until Monday when Butlin is due to give evidence in his defence.

Audi driver Moshin Amin and his co-accused Rexhino Arapaj and David Butlin are appearing at Leeds Crown Court nearly two years after the operation on a motorway slip road during which Mr Yaqub was shot.

They are each facing a charge of conspiracy to possess firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Butlin is also facing a charge of having an offensive weapon, namely a push dagger, on the day of the shooting.

All three have pleaded not guilty.