Birdwatchers’ gruesome find started search for murderers

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A small-time drug dealer was tortured, killed and his body then dismembered into six pieces “behind closed doors” by a brutal drug gang, a court heard yesterday.

Adam Vincent, 33, was shot with air rifle pellets and savagely punched and kicked in the weeks before his gruesome death.

The gang then scattered his body parts in waterways across Lincolnshire, Sheffield Crown Court was told.

People birdwatching at Tetney Lock near Cleethorpes found his severed leg sticking out of the water.

After a police investigation two other parts were recovered and his head, right arm and right leg were found in the River Ancholme, near Brigg.

Tom Bayliss QC, prosecuting, said the five-strong gang believed Mr Vincent had stolen money from them and “grassed” them up to the police.

The court heard Mr Vincent was a heroin addict and sold wraps of the drug for the gang in return for being able to use some of it for himself.

At the time of his death he was living with the gang in a bungalow in Southfield Road, Scartho, Grimsby.

Grimsby men Lee Griffiths, 43, his sons Thomas Griffiths, 22, and Luke Griffiths, 19, Lee Griffiths’ stepson Mark Jackson, 27, and Matthew Frow, 32, all deny murder between February 26 and March 4.

They also deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by concealing Mr Vincent’s dismembered body between the same dates along with Andrew Lusher, 43, also from Grimsby, who is alleged to have hired the van which was used to dispose of the body parts.

The three Griffiths and Mark Jackson further deny conspiracy to supply heroin between December 1, 2010 to March 7, 2011.

Frow admits conspiracy to supply the Class A drug.

Mr Bayliss said Mr Vincent was a close associate of the five men charged with murder.

He did small-time drug dealing on their behalf and “it was the gang he was associated with that killed him”.

Three weeks before Mr Vincent’s body was found three members of the gang were arrested on suspicion of drug offences then released.

Officers searched the bungalow, which is owned by Lee Griffiths and where Mr Vincent had been living.

Mr Bayliss said Lee Griffiths believed that Mr Vincent had given information to the police and had stolen £5,000 and drugs from them.

The gang began a “sustained physical assault” on Mr Vincent and the violence continued for a fortnight – ultimately leading to his death.

A post mortem examination showed Mr Vincent died from a blunt force trauma to the head.

He had been struck at least three times with a weapon.

Mr Vincent was last seen alive on February 27 and the following day one of the gang sent a text message to his girlfriend which implied Adam Vincent had been killed.

His body was dismembered after his death and a van, organised by Andrew Lusher, was used to dispose of it.

The birdwatchers at Tetney Lock happened upon the leg by chance only hours after it had been dumped.

Mr Bayliss said: “Adam Vincent was killed behind closed doors by this gang.

“All five of the defendants were participating in a joint enterprise which led to Adam Vincent’s death.”

He said it was difficult to identify individual acts of violence but the prosecution claimed anyone who was involved in it was guilty of murder even if they were not present when the fatal blow was delivered.

Mr Vincent’s father Keith visited his son, who was in hospital with pneumonia, in late January.

Mr Vincent told his father he had had enough of his drug-taking lifestyle.

He said: “I want to get away but they won’t let me. I need to sort some issues out first.”

The hearing, which is expected to last at least six weeks, continues.