Rugby murder victim Jordon Banton, who has been described as ‘quiet, loving and kind,’ was awaiting sentence for violence at the time he was killed.
He had been convicted by a jury at Warwick Crown Court last month of an offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm, which he had denied.
And the 23-year-old, of Crackthorne Drive, Rugby, was on bail pending the preparation of a pre-sentence report when he was fatally shot on July 25.
In what was described by the police at the time as ‘a targeted incident,’ he died of a shotgun wound to the head, and his body was found in a car dumped in a country lane near the village of Newton.
So his case was listed again at the court for the file to be formally closed.
Judge Richard Griffith-Jones criticised the CPS because the court only had a copy of the death certificate, rather than the original, and because there was no police officer to give evidence that the body had been identified.
But he had recently dealt with a preliminary hearing in the case of the two men, Paul Clarke (34) of Bluebell Close, Rugby, and Darrell Akins (28) of Follager Road, Rugby, who have been charged with Banton’s murder.
And ordering that Banton’s file be marked ‘deceased,’ he said: “It is only because I have personal knowledge that this man is deceased that I am willing to mark the indictment.”
During Banton’s trial the court heard that in November 2012 Liam Bailey received a text from a friend, Lawrence McFarland, at just before midnight.
So he phoned Mr McFarland who said he was with another friend of theirs, Alan Beard, in Hillmorton and that they had had a puncture, so asked Mr Bailey to pick them up.
He collected them in his Ford Fiesta, but unknown to them, they were being watched by Banton and Damion Rea in a BMW driven by a third man who said he had been following them because Rea had a dispute with Mr Beard, said prosecutor Richard Franck.
Mr McFarland was in the back of the Fiesta, and when he noticed the BMW behind them his first reaction was that it might be an unmarked police car and told Mr Bailey to watch his speed.
They turned into Shenstone Avenue, where they stopped, and were followed by the BMW which also pulled up.
Rea got out and went to the passenger side of the Fiesta where he started punching Mr Beard; and to try to stop the attack Mr Bailey began to reverse.
But the passenger door was open, and as he did so the door caught on a tree and was quite badly damaged.
“Mr McFarland saw a second man get out of the BMW. We say that was this defendant, because McFarland recognised and knew him.” said Mr Francke.
“He saw Banton come over and punch Liam Bailey hard to the face, causing his head to be jolted back and upwards. During that attack on Mr Bailey, McFarland shouted ‘Jordon, Jordon.’
“None of the three seem to have known any reason for the attack, and it was over in a very short time.
“The two ran back to the BMW and shouted ‘go, go.’ As they drove away Banton said it was not supposed to happen like that, and Rea said ‘I just wanted to talk to him.’”
The jury heard that as a result of the attack Mr Bailey suffered two fractures to his jaw, for which he was treated at University Hospital in Coventry.
Banton accepted he had seen Rea that day, but denied being with him that night, claiming he had been at home with his partner at the time.
He said he had done nothing wrong, and asserted that he was being ‘set up’ and that the witnesses were not telling the truth about him being involved.