A businessman who ‘executed’ two associates because he didn’t want to pay them the £400,000 he owed has been jailed for life.
Jonathan Houseman, 33, ‘cold bloodedly’ shot dad-to-be Will Henry, 31, and Brian McIntosh, 29, while the three were sat in a Range Rover on September 30 last year.
Houseman, who worked in waste disposal, had hired the pair to clear 1,000 tons of waste for him from a site in Halesowen in the West Midlands but then refused to pay.
A court heard how, ‘in desperation’, Houseman lured them to an industrial estate in Dudley and gunned them down from the backseat.
Mr Henry – the brother of a West End musical star – was struck twice, in the head and shoulder, while Mr McIntosh was hit four times in the face and neck. They both died immediately.
Houseman then fled in a getaway car to a valeting business which was run by friend Richard Avery, 34.
He removed his blood-stained clothes and sprayed himself with cleaning fluid given to him by Avery in a bid to cover his tracks.
Avery then bagged up the clothes and loaded them into a car which were later destroyed in a garden waste incinerator.
During the trial, the jury heard how Houseman was ‘motivated by greed’ and didn’t want to pay off the debt so he could continue living a lavish lifestyle.
Mr Henry and Mr McIntosh had become increasingly frustrated at his failure to pay and relations has soured between the trio.
Mr Henry’s partner, Denni Ullah, – who was four months pregnant at the time – text Houseman after the murders to tell him: ‘You will not get away with this. I promise.’
Houseman had tried to claim the gunman was a mystery fourth person in the car, but CCTV and forensic evidence proved he was killer.
Houseman, of Stourbridge, West Mids., was found guilty of the two murders last month following an eight-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Avery, of no fixed address, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Today Houseman was jailed for life at the same court and ordered to serve a minimum term of 40 years while Avery was sent to prison for two-and-a half years.
Sentencing, Judge Martin Spencer told Houseman: ‘It was only you in the back of the car, who shot those two men, without warning, cold-bloodedly, in what was effectively an execution.
‘Wherever it was Brian and Will were headed, they never got there.
‘As Brian turned the car and started to move forward, you shot them both in head, the bullets passing through their brains, causing instant death.’
The judge said the killer had ‘peddled a web of lies’ to the jury but declined to hand him a rare whole-life term.
He said: ‘I considered you carried out these offences as an act of desperation’, adding: ‘You saw no other way out of the financial predicament you had got yourself into.’
Turning to Avery, Mr Justice Spencer described his offences as ‘a forlorn attempt to assist Jonathan Houseman in avoiding justice’.
The murder weapon has never been recovered and is thought to be in ‘criminal circulation’.
Tanya Hassan, Mr McIntosh’s fiancee and mother of his two sons, aged nine and three, said the youngsters have lost their ‘hero and protector’.
Miss Hassan said her children have had to ‘learn the world is a nasty place and that there is pure evil that walks among us’, adding that Houseman had been invited into the family’s home as a guest.
She said she and Mr McIntosh had been due to be married this year, after the pandemic delayed their nuptials, adding: ‘Now I will never get to experience one of the best days of my life.’
She described Mr McIntosh as a hard worker, at the heart of his community, mentoring at his local boxing gym – as did Mr Henry – and helping pay for the funerals of two locals, whose families could not afford the bills.
Speaking about her pregnancy, Ms Ullah said: ‘I had to continue the remaining five months alone, completely broken whilst mourning my dead partner – I gave birth, attended scans and will raise our daughter alone.’
Mr Henry’s brother, Christopher, broke down in tears as he said his brother’s death had left their mother heartbroken and that, on Christmas Day morning in 2020, she suffered a fatal heart attack, aged 61, while on a family walk.
Mr Henry said: ‘We truly believe our mother’s death was caused by the pain and grief she bore over the murder and death of her son.’
He added: ‘The violent nature of his passing does not fit well with the life he lived – cut down in the prime of his life.’
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