A man who shot dead a West End star’s brother and his pal in an ‘execution’ killing over a £400,000 debt has been jailed.
Will Henry, 31, – brother of acclaimed Kinky Boots actor Matt, 43 – and Brian McIntosh, 29, were found dead in a Range Rover on September 30 last year.
A court heard Jonathan Houseman, 33, gunned down both men from the back seat after luring them to their deaths so he could maintain his lavish life of luxury.
Dad-to-be Mr Henry was struck twice, in the head and shoulder while Mr McIntosh was hit four times in the face and neck.
The pair died almost instantaneously in the vehicle at the Albion Works industrial estate in Dudley, West Midlands.
Houseman then fled in a getaway car to the H2O car valet business which was run by friend Richard Avery, 34, at the Merry Hill shopping centre ten minutes after the killing.
Houseman 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.
Detectives found the victims, who worked in the waste clearance business, were owed thousands of pounds by Houseman for work that they had done but not been paid for.
Houseman owed them at least £400,000 and they had become increasingly frustrated with his failure to pay them back before he carried out the killings “motivated by greed.”
The court was told Mr Henry’s partner Demi Allen text Houseman after the murders to tell him: “‘You will not get away with this. I promise.”
During the trial, Houseman claimed 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 caged for two-and-a half years.
Sentencing, Judge Martin Spencer told Houseman: “You invented in your mind a fourth person who had been in the car.
“This was a web of lies you peddled to the jury.
“There was no fourth man.
“It was you who pulled the trigger, cold-bloodedly gunning them down from behind in what was effectively an execution.
“Demi Allen, William’s partner, was not fooled.
“On the morning after the shooting she sent you a text saying ‘you will not get away with this. I promise.’
“She immediately knew who was responsible because of the bad blood that had built of between you and William Henry over the previous months.
“She was right on both counts – it was you and you would not get away with it.
“The most important aggravating feature is that there are two victims and the offence was carried out for gain to evade a substantial debt to Mr McIntosh and Mr Henry.
“The offences involved a substantial degree of planning and premeditation including securing the gun, driving your car away from the site so that you may be able to pretend you were not present at the time and disposing of the evidence afterwards.
“You lured Mr McIntosh and Mr Henry on to the site relying on how they had no suspicion of what you had planned.
“As mitigating factors I take into account your previous good character and carried out this offence out of desperation as it was the only way you could see to continue to provide for you wife and children.”
Heartbroken family members and partners of both men bravely read out victim personal statements to the court.
William’s brother Chris Henry told how his mother had died “from heartbreak” aged 61 on Christmas Day last year following the tragedy.
Mr Henry said: “Hearing he had been killed with his best friend in such a brutal execution sent shockwaves through our community.
“It breaks out heart he was taken in a brutal and cruel way because of someone’s selfish choice.
“These people who planned and executed this murder have not only taken William and Brian’s lives but caused my mother’s.
“This tragedy would never have happened if William was here.
“Words cannot describe how these evil people have made family suffer with their actions.
“It is not them but us who face a life sentence.
“The violent nature of his passing doesn’t fit with the person he was, cut down in the prime of his life.”
Reading her statement, William’s partner of two years Demi Allen told the court William was murdered before she found out she was expecting a baby girl.
She was four months pregnant when he was killed.
She said: “On September 30 my life was destroyed.
“My partner was murdered before we found out we were having a baby girl.
“My daughter will never know her father, William only wanted to be a father.
“My world has been shattered and I don’t enjoy getting up anymore.
“I dread my daughter will ask what happened to her father.
“She has been robbed of her father and will only be able to visit him at the graveside.
“I hope justice will be served but no sentence will ever be enough for the murder of my William and his best friend Brian.”
Detective Inspector Wes Martin, of West Midlands Police, said after the case: “These were killings motivated pure and simply by greed and Houseman’s selfish desire to wipe out debts and maintain a lavish lifestyle he could ill afford.
“We believe Houseman arranged this meeting to ambush and ultimately execute Mr McIntosh and Mr Henry – both of whom were young, family men, who were well loved by their families and had their whole lives ahead of them.
“There has been absolutely no remorse from the two men on trial, and they have tried to distance themselves from these horrific killings at every step of the way.
“It was carried out as cold blooded execution which was completely unjustified.
“Our thoughts are with the families of Mr McIntosh and Mr Henry today, as they have been throughout this investigation.”
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