Man found guilty of murdering St Albans resident
PUBLISHED: 14:42 27 September 2012 | UPDATED: 14:42 27 September 2012
A MAN has been found guilty of the murder of St Albans resident Murray Thompson today (September 27) as a seven-week trial draws to a close.
James Evans, 24, of Bushey Mill Lane, Watford, was found guilty of Mr Thompson’s murder, perverting the course of justice, preventing a lawful burial and conspiracy to produce cannabis at St Albans Crown Court.
Mr Thompson, 34, was last seen at a property in St Albans Road in Watford on April 20 2010. His body has never been found and no indication has been given about where it might be.
Lee Sullivan, 48, from Hudson Close, Watford, who was on trial alongside Evans, was charged with perverting the course of justice, conspiracy to produce cannabis and four counts of intimidation of witnesses.
A third man was found guilty at an earlier trial in November 2011 of perverting the course of justice, conspiracy to produce cannabis and intimidation of a witness. Amit Agar, 32, from Parkfield, Chorleywood, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and ordered to pay £50,000 costs.
Following the verdict, Mr Thompson’s father, Tony Thompson, said: “This has been a long ordeal, with two trials, combined to over 14 weeks of court. I’m naturally pleased with the verdict. I hope now we can start moving on with our lives, however Murray is still daily in our thoughts. Until we put him to rest, it’ll always be nagging in our minds about where he is.
“I would like to thank DI Kent and his team for their hard work and persistence over the past two and a half years, and QC Price and his assistant Sandra Beck for being so supportive throughout the trial. I’d also like to thank my friends for their daily phone calls and support at court.”
Det Insp Jerome Kent from the Joint Major Crime Unit, who led the investigation, said: “Throughout our investigation we’ve learnt a lot about Murray and, who despite being involved in drugs, was a kind man who was loyal to his family and had a large group of friends. I would thank the family and friends of Murray who gave considerable support to police during the investigation.
“Lee Sullivan, James Evans and Amit Agar clearly set about ‘covering up’ Murray’s death and the cannabis operation, by a sustained campaign of intimidating people who they believed were feeding information to police.
“I am pleased the jury have come to these guilty verdicts. It has been an incredibly challenging case, particularly because Murray’s body has never been found. For Murray’s parents the anguish they have faced since Murray went missing is unimaginable.
“Their bravery and strength is admirable, however I know that finding Murray means more to them than the verdict today. They desperately want to put Murray to rest and say goodbye properly.
“I believe that James Evans, Lee Sullivan and Amit Agar know where Murray is but they have always refused to give any assistance to the police and actively engaged in disrupting the police enquiry.”
The two defendants are expected to be sentenced tomorrow, Friday September 28.
Herts Police are still looking for Mr Thompson’s body and anyone with information should contact their non-emergency 101 number, or call crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.