South East Wales

'Brothers shot' drug dealing taxman Mark Jones in Mountain Ash

Edward Bennett and Stephen Bennett Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Edward and Stephen Bennett both deny murder

Two brothers shot a drug dealing taxman at point blank range in a lay-by in Rhondda Cynon Taff, a court has heard.

Stephen Bennett, 53, and Edward Bennett, 48, deny murdering Mark Jones as he sat in his Audi A3 at Lletty Bends, Mountain Ash, on 26 July 2015.

Civil servant Mr Jones was a valuation officer for HMRC but the Cardiff Crown Court jury heard he also sold drugs.

The court was told the 43-year-old was shot twice by the brothers. Edward Bennett was said to owe Mr Jones money.

Prosecutor Chris Clee QC said: "Edward Bennett was a friend of Mark Jones and had been for some time. He was also involved in drug dealing with Mark Jones."

In the weeks leading up to the alleged murder, the court heard how Edward Bennett, from Penrhiwceiber, was desperately trying to raise a large amount of cash - even applying for a £60,000 mortgage, but he was unsuccessful.

Phone and text records to others purporting to ask for money owed included: "I really need that money tonight - I really do," and "You've got to understand I really need that money tonight".

The court also heard there were repeated messages from Mr Jones to Edward Bennett during July which included: "I've just had my mate on the blower, I need paper tonight."

Addressing the jury, Mr Clee added: "Was Edward Bennett in significant debt to Mark Jones? Was he under pressure to pay that debt?"

An internet message from Edward Bennett to his brother Stephen, of Pontypridd, on 5 July said: "Have you still got that thing? Cut it down and we'll use it."

Mr Clee said that was a reference to a gun.

The jury was also shown text messages between Mr Jones and Edward Bennett arranging to meet in the lay-by at the time of the shooting.

CCTV tracked Stephen Bennett's Volkswagen van driving between his home to the vicinity of the shooting and back, on the night of the alleged murder.

Mr Jones had told his wife he was popping out for a few minutes.

'Two loud bangs'

A number of witnesses were near the scene "and what happened next was entirely unexpected and happened quickly", jurors heard.

An AA driver who had stopped for a cigarette in the lay-by heard two loud bangs.

The prosecution said he saw the driver and passenger doors of the white Audi open at the same time.

Jurors were told he saw blue smoke emerge followed by two people and then another man, who all ran into the main road.

Other witnesses saw a man fall to the floor, before being dragged to the side of the road and left there by the other two who vanished down a path into nearby bushes.

The court heard Mr Jones was taken to hospital where he later developed sepsis and had 15 operations, but died two months later on 26 September.

The trial continues.

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