JORDON BANTON: Murder trial jury hears gunshots on CCTV

Jordon Banton
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A jury has listened to a CCTV recording which captured the sound of the three shots which killed Rugby dad Jordon Banton as he was sitting defenceless in his car.

And it was alleged that the fatal shots were fired by Darrell Akins, while Paul Clarke acted as the get-away driver.

Akins, 28, of Follager Road, Rugby, and Clarke, 35, of Bluebell Close, Rugby, have pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the murder of 23-year-old Mr Banton in July last year.

The jury has heard that at 11.40 in the morning on July 25 last year Mr Banton died from a shotgun wound to his head after three shots were fired at him in a country lane near Rugby.

Prosecutor Andrew Smith QC said the shooting was seen by a retired man, Dennis Jones, as he was driving along Newton Road on his way to visit a friend in Newton village.

“As he drove past the Thomas Cross pub he saw two cars stopped in the road, facing in the direction of Newton village.

“The closest to him was what he thought was a silver car parked on the road with the rear passenger door partly open, and the second was a red car parked close to the grass verge ahead of the silver car.”

Mr Smith said the red car was Mr Banton’s Seat Leon, and the other was Akins’s hired silver-blue Vauxhall Insignia.

“Mr Jones saw a man dressed in black and wearing a black cap holding what he thought was a rifle with a single barrel. The man moved towards the red car, and he fired at that red car.

“The red car was stationary, and the shots were fired towards the driver’s position.

“After the initial shot or shots the red car was seen to swerve violently across the road, ending up in the ditch on the off-side of the road.

“Mr Jones then saw the man in black walk across to the red car and fire once more. He was of course observing the shooting of Jordon Banton.

“After firing at the car in the ditch, the man with the gun became aware of Mr Jones and relatively quickly got into the rear of the silver car, and the car drove off.”

Mr Jones tried to follow the car, but after losing sight of it as it rounded a bend, he carried on to his friend’s home and then returned to the scene and identified himself to the police, who had been called by another motorist.

Mr Smith said that Nigel Green, who lives a kilometre from Newton Road, was out at the time, but after hearing of the shooting on his return, he checked his home CCTV system.

It had captured the sound of three gunshots, the first at 11.40 and 40 seconds, the next five seconds later and the final shot 12 seconds after that.

Playing the recording to the jury, Mr Smith observed: “Those were the sounds of the shots that killed Jordon Banton.”

The police recovered three 12-bore cartridges from the scene, one of which had been fired from such close range that the wadding from it was found in Mr Banton’s car.

He had suffered two shotgun wounds, the main one being to the rear right side of his head, which would have led very rapidly to his death.

The other shot which struck him had caused superficial injury to his right shoulder, while shot had also struck the driver’s door pillar, and the rear driver’s side window had been smashed by one of the shots being fired through it at Mr Banton.

An expert believed the fatal head wound had come from the second shot which had been fired either through the already-broken rear off-side window or the open driver’s window.

The rear window on the passenger side had also been smashed by what the expert believed was the third shot fired when the car was in the ditch.

After the shooting the Insignia was abandoned, and Akins called his former partner to pick him and Clarke up from Featherbed Lane to take them back to her home in Clifton.

She did so, and he then got his motorbike from her garden and rode to Banbury where he again met up with her before returning to the home of a friend in Coventry.

From there on the following day Akins arranged for someone to pick Clarke up from Rugby before collecting him in Coventry and taking them to Cardiff that evening, for which the driver was paid £140 plus petrol money.

But the police investigation traced them to Cardiff, where they were staying at the home of a woman with whom Clarke had a young child, and on the Monday lunchtime they were seen getting into a taxi in the city centre.

A few minutes later the taxi was stopped by armed officers and both men were arrested on suspicion of murder.

Mr Smith said that in the meantime the Insignia had been found by the police, and particles of shotgun residue were found inside on the rear seat and on a baseball cap and a glove.

The shotgun was not found, but forensic scientist Anthony Gallagher said that from markings on the cartridges found at the scene it was likely they had been fired from a self-loading or pump-action shotgun.

And they matched a further cartridge found in the bedroom at Akins’ home which had markings indicating that at some point it had been in the same self-loading or pump-action shotgun.

When he was interviewed by the police, Akins denied being involved in the murder, after which he answered ‘no comment’ to further questions.

The jury heard his defence is that he had lent the Insignia to a man he knew as Lawks.

But Mr Smith said the only place that name could be found was in the phone directory on the Insignia’s inbuilt system – and when it was checked it was found the number was that of a 15-year-old girl.

Clarke also denied being involved in the shooting, and said he had spent the morning at his parents’ home in Copeland, Brownsover, before going to his cousin’s home at 11.30 where he remained until after midnight.

Mr Smith told the jury: “There is no dispute that Jordon Banton was murdered. The issue for you is who was involved.

“The prosecution case is that both Darrell Akins and Paul Clarke took an active part, with one of them firing the shotgun, very likely Mr Akins, and the other driving the Insignia car.”

The trial continues.