Father and son murdered ‘friend’ by driving over him four times in supermarket car park

·4-min read
Son torched car down the road from home after he and father killed ‘friend' (Metropolitan Police)
Son torched car down the road from home after he and father killed ‘friend' (Metropolitan Police)

A father and son have been convicted of murder after they held down a family friend and repeatedly ran him over in a supermarket car park.

Bobby Ternent, 32 and his father Gary Ternent, 59, both of Movers Lane, Barking, were found guilty at the Old Bailey on Friday. They will be sentenced on 10 February.

The court heard the Ternents killed their friend John Avers, 47, on 13 September 2020.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command reviewed hours of CCTV footage which captured the murder as well as the killers’ movements before and after the murder.

Police found that the pair picked Avers up at 11.30pm on Wood Lane in Dagenham, London, and drove a few hundred yards to an Iceland car park on Whalebone Road South.

Bobby was driving a silver BMW X6 with false plates, officers said. After stopping in the car park, Bobby got out and pulled Avers from the car and onto the ground.

Gary got into the drivers’ seat and tried to reverse the car but could not get it moving.

Murderers: Bobby, left, and Gary Ternent (Metropolitan Police)
Murderers: Bobby, left, and Gary Ternent (Metropolitan Police)

The father and son switched places while Avers stayed on the ground, unable to get to his feet — the prosecution argued he was already badly hurt.

Gary held Avers down as Bobby started the car but moved out of the way as his son approached.

CCTV showed Bobby drive over Avers then turn around and drive over him again.

Gary got in the car and they drove over Avers two more times. They drove away leaving him dead or dying.

After arriving home, Bobby parked the car a short way down the road, set fire to it and abandoned it.

Police said they arrived to the supermarket car park about five minutes after the Ternents left. Reports had come in from residents who heard Avers's screams.

One witness told officers he thought at first that the killers were just trying to scare Avers. He said: “I couldn’t believe what I saw next and I still can't believe that anyone would do that to someone.”

Avers was found lying in a large pool of blood and was pronounced dead at the scene at 22 minutes past midnight.

Avers was said to have been a successful businessman (Metropolitan Police)
Avers was said to have been a successful businessman (Metropolitan Police)

A post-mortem examination ruled that he died from multiple injuries. He had many fractures to his skull, sternum, pelvis and left-thigh bone.

Some 22 of his 24 ribs were fractured and caused six penetrating wounds to his lungs. He also had heart and liver injuries.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Rogers, the senior investigating officer, said: “This was nothing short of a cold and calculated execution.

“What Bobby and Gary did to their supposed good friend was absolutely shocking and was extremely distressing for those who witnessed it and those who have had to watch the graphic CCTV.

“John was already lying defenceless on the floor, there is absolutely no excuse that can justify holding him down and then running him over not once, not twice, but four times. It is barbaric.”

Bobby was arrested on 18 September after officers acted on intelligence and stopped a vehicle on the M2 near Gravesend, Kent.

Gary was arrested the day after at a guest house in Southend-on-Sea where he and his wife had booked in on arrival the day after the murder.

Gary answered no comment to all questions during his police interview but Bobby admitted running over Avers, who he said was a very good friend and that he had worked for him for years.

He claimed that about three weeks before the murder Avers called him and asked him to look after £40,000 of stolen drug money for him. He said he agreed and kept the cash in his car.

He said that on the day of the murder Avers called and said he needed the money immediately, so they met and drove to the car park where a fight ensued as Avers said the money was short.

Bobby claimed Avers threatened to kill his wife and children. He said took the threat seriously and when he saw Avers on the ground, he panicked, got in the car and tried to drive over his legs to stop him getting up. He said he thought he missed so he ran over him again.

He said he did not see his father holding Avers down and denied running over him a third and fourth time. He said he threw the money out of the car as he drove away because he was scared. He admitted setting the car on fire.

The jury disagreed with Bobby’s account. Prosecutor Bill Emlyn Jones QC said Avers was not a “big time villain”, but had been a successful businessman, owning a company that specialised in sash windows.

When his business went downhill, he sold his home, his marriage fell apart and he turned to drink and drugs, the court heard.

Mr Emlyn Jones said that on the night of his death, Avers texted his ex-wife: “I’m going to get your house back.”

The prosecutor suggested that whatever the truth, having a row over money and being threatened was not a defence to murder.

Following their convictions, Judge Anne Molyneux remanded them in custody and adjourned sentencing until 10 February.

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