Monday 11 December 2017

Pair plotted to chop off head of singer Stone, court told

Ryan Hooper Exeter

TWO men hatched a plot to decapitate international pop star Joss Stone and steal from her before dumping her body in a river, a court was told.

Junior Bradshaw and Kevin Liverpool harboured deep hatred for the soul singer, who they referred to as a "she-devil", it is claimed.

The pair set off from their home in Manchester with a samurai sword, knives, bags and gloves crammed in their Fiat Punto, bound for Ms Stone's address in mid-Devon, the court heard.

It is claimed the alleged murder plot was fraught with problems.

The pair were spoken to by police having been involved in a crash on the journey south. They also asked a postman for directions to Ms Stone's home using a picture of the pop star in an attempt to track her down, the court heard.

The duo had previously gained evidence about one of Ms Stone's former homes, near Cullompton off the M5, after studying a video documentary she made for MTV's 'Cribs' series and printed Google street maps to find her new address a short distance away, the prosecution allege. It is claimed that notes found in the defendants' possession showed they intended to decapitate the pop star before planning to dump her body in a river.

The pair were arrested a few miles from Ms Stone's home, the jury heard.

Mr Bradshaw (32) and Liverpool (35) deny charges of conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and conspiracy to rob, in 2011.

Opening the case at Exeter Crown Court, prosecutor Simon Morgan, told the jury: "This case is about a decision by a group of individuals, of which these defendants are two, to rob and kill Joss Stone.

"That is not a phrase I have plucked from the air. It is used in documents written by Mr Liverpool during the planning stages of this plot."

The court heard the duo went on at least one fact-finding visit to the area in the weeks leading up to June 13 2011, when they were arrested a few miles from Ms Stone's home.

Weapons

They aroused suspicion, the court heard, because their vehicle was not known in the area by neighbours in the "eagle-eyed community".

Suspicious neighbours called the police and when their vehicle was eventually searched, officers found a stash of weapons.

These included a sword, a section of hosepipe, and a hammer.

The trial continues

Irish Independent

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