Berkshire

Sunningdale murder trial: Jury considers verdicts

Shaleem Amar
Image caption Shaleem Amar was found in the back of a van covered in sand

Jurors in the trial of four men accused of murdering a man who was found dying in the back of a van in Berkshire have retired to consider their verdicts.

Father of three Shaleem Amar, 33, died after allegedly being hit with hammers.

He was found when police stopped a white van in London Road, in Sunningdale, Ascot, in November 2010.

At Reading Crown Court Robert Derek Johnston, 57, his sons Tom, 25, and Ben, 27, and a friend, Shaun Matthews, 56, all of Cambridgeshire, deny murder.

The jury is due to resume deliberations on Thursday.

During the five-week trial, jurors heard Mr Amar was discovered by police inside a rubble sack inside Mr Johnston senior's van and covered in 50kg (110lb) of sand.

Bleeding profusely

The four men are accused of attacking Mr Amar earlier at a luxury house he was renting in Sunningdale.

Attempts were made to resuscitate him on the roadside but he was pronounced dead.

He was bleeding profusely from a wound to his head and had suffered a fractured cheekbone and defensive wounds to his hands.

Jurors were told blood-stained hammers were found in a satchel in the footwell of the van.

They also heard there was no clear motive for the killing but that Mr Amar and Mr Johnston senior were partners in a fraudulent business carrying out a complicated paper trail VAT fraud.

Mr Johnston senior told the court in his defence that he hit Mr Amar with a hammer in self-defence after the pair argued over money.

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