Beds, Herts & Bucks

Men convicted of Luton drug deal murder

Two men have been convicted of murdering a man during a drug deal in Bedfordshire.

Richard Long, 22, of Houghton Regis, was shot through the head after being lured to the Lewsey Farm estate in Luton on 1 September.

Simeon Johnson, 18, and a 19-year-old man, referred to as "M" because of a court order, had denied murder but both were unanimously convicted.

They will return to the court for sentencing on 25 June.

The court heard Mr Long had been lured to the rendezvous to buy £6,000 of skunk cannabis on behalf of a friend.

But the court was told there was never going to be an exchange of drugs and the intention was to rob him at gunpoint.

Cannabis deal

Johnson, of Wheatfield Road, Luton, and "M" had pleaded guilty to possessing ammunition. "M" denied that charge but was convicted by the jury.

The court was told that in the week before his death Mr Long's wife, Micki, became aware that a cannabis deal was being arranged.

The prosecution said: "She was very unhappy about him getting involved and had a lot of rows with him, however he was keen on making a bit of money for himself."

Image caption Simeon Johnson pictured posing with a firearm

Johnson told the jury he thought he was playing his part in a genuine cannabis deal and it was only at the very last minute that he was given a gun and told to rob "the customers".

He believed the gun was unloaded and said it went off accidentally during a struggle, the court heard.

"M" said he had been asked to supply the cannabis, which he did and that was the end of his involvement.

He denied supplying the firearm or suggesting a robbery saying it would be bad for business.

Det Ch Insp Steve Collin said: "This case has told the story of Richard Long, who foolishly decided to purchase a kilogramme of cannabis from the defendants and who, in my opinion, did not foresee the dangers and in doing so paid for it with his life.

"The people he was involved with were organised and were not afraid to use lethal force to achieve their aims."

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