A man was shot dead in bed at home in a case of mistaken identity while his partner and three-year-old son were asleep alongside, a court heard.
Father-of-three Lee Gray, 32, was allegedly killed with a single shot to the back of the head by 29-year-old Martin Fieldhouse who had intended to kill his half-brother, Michael.
The two brothers had a “significant history of animosity” according to Richard Mansell QC, prosecuting, and a few hours earlier Martin Fieldhouse had been assaulted and humiliated in a fight with his sibling.
Martin Fieldhouse expected to find his brother sleeping downstairs at Mr Gray’s home and also believed Mr Gray may have been out seeing an ex-girlfriend which was untrue, Sheffield Crown Court heard yesterday .
“Having not found his brother in the conservatory he ventured upstairs and upon seeing a male’s body in bed with Keeley Jones, wrongly assumed this was his brother and that he was sleeping with Gray’s girlfriend,” said Mr Mansell.
The court heard neither Miss Jones nor her son were awoken by the sound of the bullet from the .410 sawn-off single barrelled shotgun because it was held to the victim’s skull.
After the alleged murder, Martin Fieldhouse contacted his ex-partner to help him dispose of the gun and he admitted he had shot his brother Mick, the court heard.
Fieldhouse, of Derwent Crescent, Athersley South, Barnsley denies murdering Mr Gray at his home in Greenwood Avenue, Worsbrough Dale, Barnsley on March 5, 2011.
“He alleges his brother was responsible for the killing,” said Mr Mansell.
“He claims his brother involved him unwittingly in the offence by asking him to drive to Gray’s home and thereafter threatened him with violence if he did not get rid of the gun.”
Martin Fieldhouse claims his brother killed Mr Gray in a dispute over an £80,000 drug debt allegedly owed by Mr Gray as a result of their drug dealing.
He also says Michael tried to persuade Mr Gray to admit having been the driver of a car involved in a near-fatal collision the previous evening to wipe the debt clear and when Mr Gray refused Michael decided to kill him.
The court heard the Fieldhouses had a stormy relationship over many years. There was a major falling-out of the two men several years before the alleged murder.
Martin Fieldhouse claimed in police interviews his brother had slept with a girlfriend of his whom he “loved dearly” and Martin Fieldhouse himself was shot in the stomach with a shotgun in 2006 “either by or on behalf of his brother”.
While serving a prison term in 2008 Martin Fieldhouse told an aunt his brother would have a “reception committee” waiting for him when he got out, the court heard.
He allegedly told her he intended to go somewhere and hide out, obtain a tool (slang for a gun) and shoot his brother dead.
Despite a brief reconciliation the Fieldhouse brothers had a fight in the early hours of March 5 outside a Wakefield nightclub during which Martin Fieldhouse was knocked to the ground apparently unconscious.
Martin Fieldhouse went home to Barnsley by taxi and posted a notice on Michael’s Facebook website at 6.30am saying “good neet bro, love thi xxx”.
The jury heard he then got his mother’s car, picking up the shotgun on the way and drove to Mr Gray’s home where Michael had been temporarily sleeping in the conservatory.
He allegedly got in, went upstairs and shot Mr Gray once to the back of the head before leaving the house and driving off at speed.
The alleged murder was only discovered when Keeley Jones woke up and rang the emergency services at 6.57am.
The trial continues.