SIX men have appeared in court accused of killing a farmer after trying to steal ‘his own hard-earned property’ from his land.
Tragic Julian Gardner, 52, was found by his business partner at Bush Barn Farm, Robertsbridge, on October 11 2010 after allegedly trying to defend his property from the gang.
Terrence Bristow, 41, Lee Delay, 23, Paul Dunn, 33, Christopher Leek, 30, Marcus Bristow, 32, and Oliver Payne, 25, appeared at Lewes Crown Court this week charged with manslaughter, conspiracy to commit burglary and perverting the course of justice.
Terrence Dunn, 57, also appeared charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Prosecuting at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday, Christine Laing QC said: “This incident happened shortly after midnight on October 11 2010. The crime scene was a car repair workshop at Bush Barn Farm near Robertsbridge.
“In the course of a planned burglary, we say carried out by six of the defendants, the owner of the premises attempted to stop them carrying out the burglary and he was unlawfully killed.
“It would have been obvious to anyone at the scene that he was at least seriously injured when he was left and that there would be a criminal investigation.
“Then all the defendants perverted the course of justice by destroying evidence which linked them to the crime.That is how the three counts link together.”
The court also heard how all the defendants, who hail from Kent, are linked as Terry and Marcus Bristow are brothers and their father is Terry Dunn’s cousin.
Oliver Payne is the partner of Terry’s daughter and Paul Dunn is Terry’s son.The other defendants are friends of Terry Dunn.
Ms Laing continued: “Julian Gardner had lived nearly all his life at the farm. There was only one main entrance in and out of the property down a driveway which passed a cottage and led to a large house occupied by Mr Gardner’s 92-year-old mother.
“Julian Gardner lived in a converted barn near his workshop.
“At any given time a large number of vehicles and parts were stored and valuable and tools would be in the barn.
“On the night of the burglary which was highly organised by the defendants a large quantity of items were quickly stolen from the scene.
“A trailer was stolen from the scene which had been filled with quad bikes Mr Gardner was looking after for a friend.
“The defendants could not have failed to be aware of the main house but they overlooked Mr Gardner’s house which was hidden behind some trees.
“As they hammered open the workshop he woke up.
“He owned shotguns and was part of shooting clubs.
“He took one of them and set off to protect his own hard earned property and this decision cost him his life.
“Planned professional burglaries are not committed by people who will give themselves up at the first sign of trouble.
“They ran Julian Gardner down killing him by crushing him between two vehicles or between the vehicle and a nearby water bowser.
“His injuries were so catastrophic he had a small chance of survival and died within a short space of time.
“Despite the surprise at what had happened, at least one of the number were callous enough to stop and steal the shotgun Julian was carrying. It has never been recovered.”
The court then heard that a Land Rover Cherokee, which had been bought a few days before by Terry and Marcus Bristow, was found burnt out in nearby field.
A jeep stolen from the premises was also found burnt out in a field in Sandringham, which is believed to have been orchestrated by Terry Dunn as he lived less than 100 yards away.
The trial continues.