Businessman jailed for life for murder of two men shot dead in Dudley to avoid paying £400k debt

·3-min read

A businessman who "cold-bloodedly" killed two men to avoid paying a £400,000 debt has been jailed for life.

Jonathan Houseman has been sentenced to serve a minimum of 40 years in prison for the murders of Will Henry and Brian McIntosh.

The 31-year-old and 29-year-old, respectively, were found shot dead in a Range Rover after police were called to a car park at the Albion Works in Brierley Hill, Dudley in September last year.

Mr McIntosh was shot four times in the left side of his face and neck, and Mr Henry was shot twice.

Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court deliberated for two days before convicting 33-year-old Houseman, formerly of Quarry Park Road, Stourbridge, in the West Midlands, for both murders.

Tanya Hassan, Mr McIntosh's fiancee and mother of his two sons, aged nine and three, said the youngsters have lost their "hero and protector".

"He has been cruelly and viciously taken from them."

The pair were supposed to be married this year, but she said: "Now I will never get to experience one of the best days of my life."

Mr McIntosh was described by Ms Hassan as a hard worker, at the heart of community, who mentored at his local boxing gym alongside Mr Henry.

She said he had helped pay for funerals of two locals, whose families could not afford the bills as well.

"My family is now a broken one," Miss Hassan said.

Mr Henry's partner, Denni Ullah, said: "On September 30, my life was destroyed - my partner and protector was ripped away from me."

Mr Henry, who was also a stepfather, was killed when she was four months pregnant with their first child, a girl.

Ms Ullah said: "I had to continue the remaining five months alone, completely broken whilst mourning my dead partner - I gave birth, attended scans and will raise our daughter alone."

"She has been robbed of an amazing father," she said, adding: "She will never know him."

Passing sentence at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, Mr Justice Martin Spencer told Houseman, who had no previous convictions: "It was only you in the back of the car, who shot those two men, without warning, cold-bloodedly, in what was effectively an execution.

"Wherever it was Brian and Will were headed, they never got there.

"As Brian turned the car and started to move forward, you shot them both in head, the bullets passing through their brains, causing instant death."

Justice Spender told the court that Houseman initially got out of the car, but then briefly returned to turn off the engine, lights and windscreen wipers before making his escape.

He then drove to co-defendant's Richard Avery's car wash and set about trying to cover his tracks with the assistance of Avery to whom he gave the gun.

The murder weapon has never been recovered and is thought to be in "criminal circulation".

The court heard that Houseman had previous dealings with the victims who worked together in waste clearance and had hired them to clear a site in Halesowen.

However, the jury heard that he didn't pay them for the work they did.

The judge declined to hand Houseman a rare whole-life term, after he "lured" the men to their deaths, saying: "I considered you carried out these offences as an act of desperation", adding: "You saw no other way out of the financial predicament you had got yourself into."

Turning to Avery, Mr Justice Spencer described his offences as "a forlorn attempt to assist Jonathan Houseman in avoiding justice".

Avery, of no fixed address, was cleared of murder but convicted of perverting the course of justice.

The 34-year-old was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting