Gunman jailed over Brierley Hill murders
A gunman who shot dead two men to wipe out a £400,000 debt he owed them was jailed for life with a minimum of 40 years today.
Jonathan Houseman executed Brian McIntosh and William Henry St Martin as a result of ‘pure greed’ after luring them to an industrial estate in Brierley Hill and shooting them as they sat in a Range Rover.
Driver Mr McIntosh, 29, was hit four times in the face and neck, while front seat passenger Mr Henry St Martin, 31, was struck twice, in the head and shoulder. They died almost instantly in the car at the Albion Works industrial estate.
Backseat passenger Houseman, aged 32, fled the scene in a car he’d parked nearby and arrived at the H2O car valet business run by friend Richard Avery at the Merry Hill shopping centre 10 minutes later.
CCTV shows Houseman removing his clothes, which would have been covered in blood and gunshot residue, and appearing to spray himself with cleaning fluid given to him by Avery.
Avery is seen bagging up the clothes worn at the time and loading them into a car. They later destroyed the evidence in a garden waste incinerator in order to help cover Houseman's tracks.
Detectives established that the victims, who worked in the waste clearance business, were owed thousands of pounds by Houseman for work that they had done but not been paid for. It is believed that Houseman owed the victims at least £400,000 and whilst he claimed to have paid them a small proportion of this amount, they had become increasingly frustrated with his failure to reimburse them.
During his trial, Houseman claimed the gunman was a mystery fourth person in the car, but CCTV and forensic evidence showed this to be a lie.
Avery claimed he only helped Houseman, of Quarry Bank Road, Stourbridge, after the killings because he’d been threatened by someone.
Houseman was convicted of the two murders, which happened on 30 September last year, after an eight-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Avery, 33, of no fixed address, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and was also jailed at Birmingham Crown Court today. He was given two-and-a-half years.
Det Insp Wes Martin, who led the investigation, said: “These were killings motivated pure and simply by greed and Houseman’s selfish desire to wipe out debts and maintain a lavish lifestyle he could ill afford.
“We believe Houseman arranged this meeting to ambush and ultimately execute Mr McIntosh and Mr Henry St Martin – both of whom were young, family men, who were well-loved by their families and had their whole lives ahead of them.
“There has been absolutely no remorse from the two men on trial, and they have tried to distance themselves from these horrific killings at every step of the way. It was carried out as cold-blooded execution which was completely unjustified.
“Our thoughts are with the families of Mr McIntosh and Mr Henry St Martin today, as they have been throughout this investigation.”
Mr McIntosh’s family said today: “We as a family need the time to be able to grieve our horrendous loss of our beloved Brian and Will, who were both humble, big-hearted, compassionate, funny, ambitious, thriving family men. Their characters were larger than life and the world will now be an empty place without them.”
Speaking about Mr Henry St Martin, his mother said: “The days I do not think of you are very hard to find. My thoughts are always with you.”