Everton murder trial: Victim was ‘executed’ in the dead of night, jury told

Police incident at Everton
Police incident at Everton
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A man was ‘executed’ in the dead of night and left for dead in a shallow grave in a farmland ditch, a jury has heard.

Alan Easton, 50, was possibly still alive when he was buried in the farmland ditch in Everton in February last year, the jury at Nottingham Crown Court was told today (Monday).

Alan James Easton

Alan James Easton

Angela Dowling, 48, of Windmill Avenue, Conisbrough, Mark Duffy, 23, of Sussex Street, Balby and Mark Bingham, 50, of Fishponds Road West, Sheffield have gone on trial accused of murder.

Stephen Schofield, 31, also of Windmill Avenue, Conisbrough has admitted murdering Mr Easton, who has moved from Dumbartonshire to Conisbough.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Ian Unsworth QC said Mr Easton was subject to a ‘severe and sustained attack’ and was ‘beaten and stabbed on numerous occasions.’

He said: “He was buried in a farmland ditch. Those responsible simply left him to die.”

“For more than a day his body lay undiscovered in the ditch. That ditch became his grave.”

He added: “To put it bluntly, he was executed in the dead of night.”

The jury heard that Mr Easton had recently moved into Dowling’s home, telling friends they were engaged.

He had been a friend of Dowling’s husband, and following his death from Leukaemia in December 2012, the pair had become close.

Dowling also lived with three of her children and lodger Stephen Schofield, with whom she was said to have had a sexual relationship.

Duffy was a friend of Dowling’s son Andrew, now aged 22.

Dowling claimed Mr Easton had acted inappropriately with her 13-year-old daughter, the court heard. But the prosecution claimed it was untrue.

The court was told how Andrew had heard the men talk about scaring Mr Easton to send him back to Scotland and that the three defendants had hatched a plan to take him out for a meal, in a ruse to attack him as punishment.

CCTV caught Dowling, Duffy, Bingham and Schofield at the Co-op store in Edlington, on the night of 1st February 2013, where Schofield bought a pack of rubber gloves.

The court heard that a matching glove and packet were found at the scene where Mr Easton died hours later.

The jury were also told about analysis of mobile phones showed Dowling’s phone had been close to the scene where Mr Easton’s body was found.

She also made a phone call to Bingham, who had stayed behind at her home, part of which was played on speaker phone and heard by her son, Andrew. During it she said the three men had been out of the car for a long time. The prosecution believe this was deliberate and ‘highly manipulative call.’

The phone analysis also revealed a spike in contact between Bingham and Dowling in the day’s leading up to Mr Easton’s death.

In a phone call to Dowling’s son, Duffy claimed Mr Easton was in a fight with them over football and had been put on a train back to Scotland.

Mr Unsworth told the jury that each of the three accused had a ‘significant’ role on the ‘planned and brutal attack.’

“It was an attack that included cunning deceit and you may well conclude, a degree of planning,” he added.

The trial, before Judge Dickinson, continues.