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Thursday, 3 July 2008

Keith Cowell, 52, his son Matthew, 17, and 33-year-old lorry driver Tony Dulieu - were slaughtered by sub-machine gun in an underworld feud


23:02 |

Ian Jennings heard gun shots, screaming and crying as a he hid in the back garden of a suburban home after escaping the carnage.The three victims - Keith Cowell, 52, his son Matthew, 17, and 33-year-old lorry driver Tony Dulieu - were slaughtered by sub-machine gun in an underworld feud over the quality of cocaine that had been supplied by Jennings, St Albans crown court heard.Jennings's mother Christine, 54, was shot in the foot and stabbed andMatthew's girlfriend Claire Evans, 23, was also stabbed as she frantically protected her 4-year-old daughter Courtney in a bedroom.
Jennings, the man who had brought the drugs to the Cowells' house in Plaw Hatch Close, was saved because he was getting himself a drink in the kitchen when two men burst in.Shaven-headed Jennings, who was dressed in a track suit and trainers, told the jury: "Two Asian guys came in through the front door and told everyone to get on the floor. They shot the dog. I ran straight out through the kitchen, through the back door and into a passage to the rear garden.He said he tried to climb over a fence to escape but collapsed in stinging nettles. "All I could hear were gun shots, crying screaming and glass breaking." He said he heard his mum's voice and Claire and her baby screaming.Jennings said the noise lasted for four or five minutes before he heard a car screech off.The prosecution says the man armed with the machine gun was Miran Thakrar, who was angry after having been supplied with low grade cocaine for 16,000 in a previous deal. He had been expected to receive a higher grade of the drug called 'Shine'.He said the first deal had come about when Matthew told him he wanted to sell some 'Shine' cocaine to Miran Thakrar, known as Mike, whom he met at a funeral. Jennings said he was not happy about dealing with Mike because he did not know him. But he said the Cowells had assured him he was all right."They said they knew the person and said they were happy to deal with him. They said his father had nightclubs and he was wearing Armani suits," he said. Also there was no Shine available he supplied the Cowells with the low grade 'Repress' to supply to Mike.Miran Thakrar was furious when he realised he had not received Shine and made threats to the Cowells saying he wanted his money back, it was alleged.
Jennings told them to get "Mike" to contact him. In an angry phone call he said Mike threatened to "put one in" Matthew and Keith Cowell over the drug deal and made threats to him. He said: "He was talking like a 'Tupac rapper' or some gangster. I told him to 'f*** off.'"But, he said, two days later Mike phoned again, said he was sorry and asked to do a second deal, this time for a kilo of cocaine. A price of
£30,000 was agreed he said. The exchange was to be made at the Cowells' home on August 28 last year.Jennings and the two Cowells had each made £500 on the previous deal. But he said this time the Cowells were not making any money and he was only receiving £500.He said he recognised Mike's voice as he shouted at the victims to get on the ground because he had spoken to him several times on the phone.
Miran Thakrar, 24, and Kevan Thakrar, 21, plead not guilty to the murder of Keith and Matthew Cowell and Tony Dulieu, from Billericay, Essex, at the Cowells' home in Plaw Hatch Close, Bishop Stortford on August 28 last year.Miran Thakrar, of no fixed address, and Kevan, of Lomond Way, Stevenage, also deny the attempted murders of Claire Evans and Christine Jennings in the house on the same day and having an Ingram Mac 10 sub machine gun with intent.Their brother Jay Thakrar, 25, of Lomond Way, Stevenage, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of assisting an offender. One relates to providing petrol between August 27 and August 30 for the burning of a car used by Miran Thakrar, and the other alleges he assisted Kevan Thakrar to evade arrest.Their father Atul Thakrar, 47, of Compton Place, Northwood, Middlesex, has pleaded not guilty to assisting Kevan Thakrar to attempt to leave the UK between August 28 and September 5.Co-defendant Amanda Dansie, 21, of High Street, Buntingford, has pleaded not guilty to assisting in the escape of Miran Thakrar from the UK between August 28 and September 9.Yilay Tufensoy, 20, of Nags Head Road, Enfield, denies two charges of assisting an offender. In one charge he is alleged to have assisted Miran Thakrar flee the UK and in the other he is accused of assisting Kevan Thakrar's attempts to flee the UK.


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