Sunday 22 October 2017

My door was unlocked on night of murder plot, says singer Joss Stone

Alice Philipson

SINGER Joss Stone did not turn on her house alarm and left the doors unlocked on the night that two kidnappers planned to rob and murder her because no one worried about security in rural Devon, a court heard yesterday.

The pop star said she was at home on the night two men allegedly equipped with a samurai sword, body bags and gaffer tape were arrested a few miles from her home. She only became aware of the plot when she was visited by police.

She described her property near Ashill, mid-Devon, as an "open house" for family, friends and her then boyfriend and said that "nobody really shuts their door" in the area.

Ms Stone (25) was giving evidence in the trial of Kevin Liverpool (35) and Junior Bradshaw (32), of Longsight, Manchester, who are charged with plotting to rob and murder the soul singer in June, 2011.

Speaking about the lack of security at her home, she said: "I've lived in Devon for a long time and nobody really shuts their door.

"I had an alarm, but I did not really turn it on very much. I didn't really have a lock on my door. But I do now."

She added: "At the time I had a gate. To get in, they (visitors) would just open the gate, drive in with their car, get up to another (wooden) gate, shut the gate hopefully so the dogs don't get out, then say hello."

Worried

Ms Stone, wearing a white blouse and black skirt, said everybody in the area knew where each other lived.

She said: "I didn't really feel worried about it (security). I think I can say that for everybody who lives around there. Until now." She described her tour diary as "private", but said anyone wanting to know if she was at home might "put two and two together" with the help of her published concert dates.

The court heard yesterday that the two defendants had previously gained evidence about one of Ms Stone's former homes, near Cullompton off the M5, after studying a video documentary she agreed to be made for MTV's 'Cribs'.

They had chosen Ms Stone as a target because of her royal connections, the court heard. The singer had performed at charity concerts attended by England's Prince William.

The two kidnappers, driving a Fiat Punto, stopped Alex Greening, a postman, on their search for Ms Stone's home. One of them showed a photo of the singer and asked Mr Greening if he knew where she lived, the court heard.

Mr Greening told Exeter Crown Court: "The driver and passenger were two dark gentlemen with Manchester accents."

Mr Liverpool and Mr Bradshaw deny conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and conspiracy to rob. The trial continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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