Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Craig Preston death: Love rival 'killed in senseless attack'

Craig Nelson known as Craig Preston Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption Craig Preston's body was discovered by dog walkers near to the Woodhead Tunnel in August 2016

A man was beaten to death in a "brutal and senseless" killing by a love rival, his ex-partner and three teenage boys, a court has heard.

Craig Preston, 34, was allegedly attacked by Shiraz Bashir, Leonie Mason and the teenagers in a lay-by near Rotherham before being dumped close to the Woodhead Tunnel in August.

The prosecution say Mr Preston was tied up and then kicked, punched and stamped on during the attack.

All five defendants deny murder.

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Sheffield Crown Court heard Mr Preston, also known as Craig Nelson, had been in a relationship with Leonie Mason, 23, for about seven years but in early 2016 she began a relationship with Shiraz Bashir, 43.

Prosecutor Dafydd Enoch QC said Ms Mason, who changed her name to Alina Shiraz in March 2016, and Mr Bashir saw Mr Preston as an "annoyance" and plotted to kill him.

Image copyright Gareth James
Image caption Mr Nelson's body was found on 22 August on the moors of the A628 at Woodhead Tunnels

In the weeks before the killing Mr Bashir told Ms Mason via Skype: "Just get [him] out and I promise on our true love he won't be living."

The court was told that on the night of 21 August Ms Mason and two of the teenage boys, who cannot be named because of their age, had driven Mr Preston to a lay-by in Town Lane, Rotherham.

There they met with Mr Bashir and the third teenager at about midnight, the jury heard.

Mr Enoch said the five defendants then attacked Mr Preston before he was "trussed up" with cable ties and bundled into the boot of a silver Vauxhall Astra. His body was later dumped by the Woodhead Tunnel.

He said: "In that lay-by, all five defendants beat Mr Preston effectively to death.

"He has been kicked, punched, hit and stamped upon with fists, feet and bits of wood and possibly other implements.

"The injuries which he suffered in the lay-by caused him to die."

The trial of Mr Bashir and Ms Mason, both of Holme Park Court, Huddersfield, and the three teenagers, two aged 15 and one aged 16, continues.

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