Traveller murdered in dispute over drugs, court hears

TRAVELLER John Finney was ruthlessly killed in a dispute over drugs, a murder trial has heard. William Harbage QC, prosecuting, told jurors the dad-of-four had received two phone threats in the weeks leading up to his disappearance. The threats demanded

TRAVELLER John Finney was ruthlessly killed in a dispute over drugs, a murder trial has heard.

William Harbage QC, prosecuting, told jurors the dad-of-four had received two phone threats in the weeks leading up to his disappearance.

"The threats demanded the return of some gear, which Finney interpreted as meaning drugs," Mr Harbage said.

"It is clear that he had upset some unscrupulous and ruthless people."


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The jury of six men and six women were told it was Joseph Jones - one of the defendants - who had made the threatening calls, telling Mr Finney he would have "a lump of lead" put in him.

The court also heard how it was believed Mr Finney, a scrap metal dealer, was killed shortly after he was abducted, on the evening of February 29 last year.

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Mr Harbage said: "Because Mr Finney's head and hands have not been recovered, it has not been possible to establish the cause and precise time of death.

"However, an examination of the contents of Mr Finney's stomach revealed that they were consistent with what he had eaten on the afternoon of February 29.

"This suggests he was murdered that day."

The court was told the "callous and cold-blooded execution" and dismembering took place at an industrial unit in Knowl Piece, off Wilbury Way, Hitchin.

Specks of Mr Finney's blood were found there.

His body was found slumped next to a garage block in nearby Ickleford on March 14.

Its limited composition meant it had been stored in cool, refrigerated conditions before it was found, Mr Harbage said.

He added: "They did everything they possibly could to cover their tracks. It was a joint enterprise in which each man played his role.

The four defendants in the dock are Mark Curran, 35, of Millbridge, Dollis Valley Way, Barnet; Norman Jones, 50, of Dukes Head Yard, Highgate; his son Joseph Jones, 24, of Crescent Road, New Barnet; and Gary Mark Lattimore, 40, of no fixed abode.

They all deny murder.

The trial, which is expected to last for six weeks at St Albans Crown Court, continues.

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