Two found guilty of murder after man shot dead in shotgun attack near Hampshire village of Corhampton
A DRUG dealer has been convicted of murdering his supplier by shooting him at close range with a shotgun after ‘tensions rose’ due to a safe house robbery.
The body of Gurinderjit Rai was found in a Ford Fiesta in a lane in Corhampton in the Meon Valley by two horse riders on July 13, 2019.
Dealer Aston Hannis, 30, of Eastleigh, was found guilty at Winchester Crown Court of the murder of the 41-year-old, who was originally from Eastleigh but was more recently based in Cheshire.
Co-defendant Charlie Statham, 30, of Winchester, was also convicted of murder.
The jury found two other men, Paul White, 27, of Winchester, and Corin Barlow, 41, from Horley, Surrey, guilty of manslaughter.
Andrew Langdon QC, prosecuting, told the trial that Mr Rai, known as G, was killed by a shot fired from a Mercedes A-class saloon car containing Hannis and Statham.
The pair are believed to have then dumped the car in a field where it was set alight and they were picked up by White.
The murder weapon, a sawn-off Beretta 12-bore shotgun, was supplied by Barlow, the prosecutor said.
Mr Langdon explained that Hannis was a drug dealer who supplied cocaine and cannabis to the Winchester area, with evidence suggesting he sold drugs worth £240,000 in a six-week period.
The lawyer said that Mr Rai had been Hannis’s supplier but ‘tensions’ had emerged after a safe house where Hannis kept his drugs was raided.
He added that Hannis also had a large outstanding debt to Mr Rai.
Speaking after the trial, Detective Chief Inspector Dave Storey, of Hampshire police, said: ‘Gurinderjit Rai’s death was a carefully planned assassination in which the jury found Hannis and Statham had principal roles.
‘Ultimately this is another example of the harm, misery and devastation that drug supply and its associated violence can inflict upon communities.
‘Our thoughts remain with Gurinderjit’s friends and family.’
A fifth man, Philip Hodan, 43, of Owslebury, was found not guilty of participating in the criminal activities of an organised crime group.
The four guilty men will be sentenced on April 23.