TWO major drug dealers were gunned down and their bodies burned and buried on a remote Cornish farm.
And a court was told they were murdered by two drugs criminals they were threatening over debts – including a Huddersfield man.
Thomas Haigh, 26, of Denby Dale, had worked as a drugs “mule” for the pair, Brett Flournoy and David Griffiths, ferrying drugs across the world.
But he owed them money and turned on them with his fellow accused, Ross Stone.
Truro Crown Court heard how Flournoy, 31, and Griffiths, 35, travelled to Cornwall to visit Stone, who owed them between £30,000 and £40,000.
Haigh had been sent down by the pair to “babysit” Stone until he had paid the money back.
But the court heard that when the two men arrived at Stone’s farm, Sunny Corner, in Trenance Downs near St Austell, they were shot dead and buried in their van in a 2.4m-deep hole.
Haigh later fled back to Huddersfield.
The court heard how he bought a train ticket to Wakefield Westgate station. On his way there, the court heard he sent a text to his father, Peter, in Denby Dale, saying “Please be there 4pm. I really really need you more than ever before dad”.
Haigh, 26, formerly of Denby Dale, and Stone, 28, from St Austell, Cornwall, both deny two counts of murder.
Paul Dunkels QC, prosecuting, said: “The two defendants and the two men who were murdered were all involved in the supply of illegal drugs.
“Stone had come to owe a substantial drug debt to Flournoy and Griffiths and as a result he and his family had been threatened with violence.
“Haigh worked for Flournoy and Griffiths and had also been threatened over drugs debts.
“In March 2011, he was sent to Brazil to collect drugs to bring back to this country.
“He was under pressure to make a second trip and was reluctant to do so.
“Haigh was sent to stay with Stone at Stone’s home in Cornwall because of the drug debt that he owed.
“On June 16 last year, Flournoy and Griffiths travelled to Stone’s home to see him and Haigh.
“Shortly after they arrived, they were both shot dead with a shotgun.
“Their bodies were put into their vehicle and then their bodies and that vehicle were then burned and buried.
“It is the prosecution case that these two men were jointly involved in the murder of these two men.
“One of them may have pulled the trigger of the shotgun but they were both in it together.”
Mr Griffiths, a father-of-three originally from Plymouth, Devon, but living in Bracknell, Berkshire, and Mr Flournoy, a boxer and father-of-two from Bebington, on the Wirral, Merseyside, were later reported missing by their families, and a missing persons inquiry started.
The court also heard that police made an unrelated drugs raid on Sunny Corner, where the men were buried, on July 1 last year.
They found two shipping containers Stone had equipped with hydroponics equipment and buried underground to evade detection by infra-red heat-sensing cameras.
Several days later, Stone admitted in a police interview that the two men were buried on the property and told police where to dig.
The “unrecognisable” remains of both men were found dumped face-down in the back of the Citroen Berlingo van in which Flournoy had travelled down from Merseyside.
Relatives of Mr Griffiths, sitting in the public gallery, broke down in tears as they heard that the men were identified via DNA tests and dental records.
Griffiths had been shot in the face and Flournoy shot in the back.
The court was told that Stone had had a quantity of drugs, sold to him by Flournoy and Griffiths, stolen. He was being pressured to pay the money he owed them anyway and also suspected the two men were behind the robbery.
Haigh, who earlier in 2011 had made a drug run to Brazil via Dublin and Frankfurt, was being pressured into making another run. But a friend had been arrested and jailed making a similar trip and he did not want to go.
Both dead men were traced to Sunny Corner using mobile phone signals, the court heard. The prosecution claims the men were killed in an 18-minute window after the last call made by Flournoy and before Haigh made a call to a friend, Damian Childs, who lived in a caravan in a nearby field, from his phone also traced to the farm.
Haigh, the court heard, appeared at Childs’ static home topless, “sweating and out of breath”, before showering and borrowing some clothes.
He later claimed to some friends, with whom he spent the night, that he had been beaten up by “two men with a bit of wood”.
Construction contractor Stone, whose mobile phone showed he had arrived back at the farm during the 18-minute window, went to where he was working in Lanivet, near Bodmin, and collected a mechanical digger that he owned, saying he needed it for another job.
“He dug a large hole and put the bodies and the van in it,” Mr Dunkels told the jury of seven men and five women.
“He set fire to the van and the bodies to destroy as much as he could before he buried them.
“There was no sign of Brett Flournoy and David Griffiths ever having been at the farm.”
The trial continues.