South East Wales

Mark Jones lay-by shooting accused 'not responsible'

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

A man accused of murdering a drug dealer by shooting him in a lay-by has told a court he was not responsible for the killing.

Mark Jones, 43, was found injured at Llety Bends, Mountain Ash, on 26 July 2015. He died later in hospital.

Edward Bennett denied being at the scene and said he had no "involvement or pre-knowledge" of the shooting.

Mr Bennett, 48, and his brother Stephen Bennett, 53, deny murder at Cardiff Crown Court.

Asked by his barrister Peter Griffiths QC: "Did you shoot Mark Jones in that lay-by?", Mr Bennett replied: "No, no, no".

He agreed he had been planning to meet Mr Jones on the evening of the shooting, but denied being at the lay-by when he was shot.

The jury heard Mr Bennett had known Mr Jones "virtually all my life" and they grew closer in 2005 when they started using cocaine.

The pair dealt drugs together, the court heard, and Mr Bennett owed Mr Jones £4,000 at the time of his death.

Mr Bennett said Mr Jones was a very careful drug dealer and he would rarely keep drugs in his possession for long, instead passing them to others or keeping them at a safe house.

He told the court he did not know where Mr Jones got his cocaine supply from but he had been told his friend would not mess with "the scousers".

He denied a text message he sent to his brother asking him to "cut it down" related to a shotgun.

Mr Bennett told the jury he could not remember the text, but said it most likely referred to some decking at his house which needed repairing.

Christopher Clee QC, prosecuting, suggested Mr Bennett's account was "utter nonsense".

He claimed he owed a significant amount of money - up to £17,000 - to Mr Jones and said he had been "desperate to raise money to pay him off".

The trial continues.

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