South East Wales

Brothers jailed for life for murdering drug-dealing taxman

Stephen Bennett (left) and Edward Bennett Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Stephen Bennett (left) and Edward Bennett denied murdering Mark Jones

Two brothers have been jailed for life with a minimum of 30-years each for shooting a drug-dealing taxman in a lay-by in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

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

Civil servant Mr Jones, 43, was a valuation officer for HMRC but Cardiff Crown Court heard he also sold drugs.

The judge described the killing as an "execution".

Both brothers denied murder, claiming Mr Jones had "many powerful enemies" in the drugs trade, but they were convicted after a five-week trial.

Before he died, Mr Jones was able to tell police officers what happened and the case was pieced together with his testimony, forensic evidence and mobile phone data.

In a statement released after the verdict, David Wooler, senior Crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wales, said the brothers killed Mr Jones "in a callous and violent manner".

The court heard Mr Jones was sitting in his car when he was shot twice. He was taken to hospital and had 15 operations but died on 26 September.

One witness described seeing the A3's doors open and "blue smoke come out of the driver's side", before noticing the driver lying on the road and two men fleeing the scene.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionIn a statement read outside court, Mr Jones' family said he was "missed every day"

The trial heard Edward Bennett was a friend of Mr Jones and dealt drugs with him. The jury was shown text messages between them arranging to meet in the lay-by at the time of the shooting.

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

Stephen Bennett, of Pontypridd, said he was not a "friend, acquaintance or associate" of Mr Jones.

But jurors were told how, in the weeks before he killed Mr Jones, Edward Bennett was desperately trying to raise a large amount of cash - even unsuccessfully applying for a £60,000 mortgage.

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

Prosecutor Chris Clee QC asked the jury: "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 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.

Image caption Police at the scene of the shooting

Earlier, a statement was read to the court on behalf of Mr Jones's 16-year-old daughter.

She said: "I cannot begin to describe the agony. He was so unfairly taken away from us by people he knew who had been into our home to fix our car.

"It haunts me that I will not have him to walk me down the aisle.

"I will never have a morning phone call from him that I crave for every day. I have lost my father and my best friend."

Sentencing the brothers, Judge Wyn Williams said: "Edward Bennett you shot Mark Jones at point blank range with a shotgun, that's consistent only with an intention to kill.

"Stephen Bennett you were present and I'm sure you knew full well your brother's intention to kill.

"Although Edward Bennett pulled the trigger you were just as involved."

Related Topics

More on this story