JORDON BANTON: Second murder suspect ‘won’t give evidence’

Jordon Banton
Jordon Banton

The second man alleged to have been involved in the shooting of Rugby father-of-three Jordon Banton is not giving evidence in his trial, the jury has been told.

Paul Clarke, 35, of Bluebell Close, Rugby, and Darrell Akins, 28, of Follager Road, Rugby, have both pleaded not guilty to Mr Banton’s murder in July last year.

In addition the two men have also denied a further charge of possessing a firearm, the shotgun used to kill Mr Banton, with intent to commit an offence.

The jury at Warwick Crown Court has heard that the 23-year-old father-of-three was shot as he sat in his Seat Leon car in Newton Road, near Rugby.

Two 12-bore shots were fired at him in broad daylight at 11.40 on that Friday morning in front of passing motorists, and a third after his car swerved violently across the road and into a ditch.

It is believed it was the second shot, fired through the open driver’s window or the rear off-side window smashed by the first shot which caused the fatal ‘massive destruction’ of his skull and brain.

Prosecutor Andrew Smith QC has alleged that the shots were fired by Akins and that he was then driven from the scene in his hired Vauxhall Insignia car by Clarke.

Mr Banton was said to have left his home in Spellow Close that morning following a series of texts between him and Akins, to whom he owed money, in which Akins was asking to meet him – and within minutes of the last call he was dead.

Following an adjournment after Akins had been in the witness box, Clarke’s barrister Michael Holland QC told the jury that Clarke would not be giving evidence in the trial.

But the jury has heard that following his arrest with Akins in Cardiff three days after the shooting Clarke told officers he knew nothing of the murder.

He said that on July 25 he had been at his parents’ home in Bluebell Close before walking to his cousin’s home in Copeland at about 11.30 and spending the rest of the day there.

While he was there her father, his uncle, arrived; and he said he did not leave until gone midnight when he and his uncle went by taxi to his uncle’s home in Abbey Street.

Clarke told the police that on July 25 he had not been able to make any calls because his phone was out of credit – but had received a couple asking him what was going on, and he said he didn’t know.

He said the first he heard about Mr Banton was in a call from another uncle, and that he could not believe it when he was told Jordon was dead.

And he said callers also asked about Akins and whether he had seen him, and he said he had not.

But the jury heard Akins say in his evidence that he had spent the Thursday night at his ex-partner Charlotte Flear’s home, and that on the Friday morning he met up with Clarke before they returned to her home at 10 or 10.30.

Akins said that at about 11.20, while Miss Flear was taking their child to the doctor’s, he received a call from a friend called Lowks who asked to borrow the Insignia.

He said he agreed, and that Lowks came to her home to collect it ‘not long after Charlotte left.’

Akins said he later had a call from Lowks saying he was in Phipps Avenue and could not start the Insignia, so he and Clarke had left her home and got a lift there from someone who was passing.

And he said that when he was also unable to start the car, he called Miss Flear who picked him and Clarke up at just after midday.

But the prosecution allege the Insignia had not been lent to anyone and that they had carried out the shooting and abandoned the car. The trial continues.