North East Wales

Men jailed for Mark Mason Rhyl Home Bargains killing

Anthony Baines, James Davies and Mark Ennis leaving Mold Crown Court
Image caption Anthony Baines, James Davies and Mark Ennis leaving Mold Crown Court last month

Four men convicted of killing a rival drug dealer in a gang-related revenge attack in Rhyl have been jailed at Mold Crown Court.

Mark Mason, 48, from Rhyl, was stabbed to death in the car park at the town's Home Bargains last October.

Last month James Davies, 20, was convicted of murder, and Anthony Baines, 30, and Mark Ennis, 30, were convicted of manslaughter.

Jake Melia, 21, had previously admitted murdering the father of two.

Davies, Baines and Ennis denied murdering Mr Mason, who was stabbed 22 times, but they were convicted by a jury after a long trial at the same court in May.

Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption L-R: Anthony Baines, Jake Melia, Mark Ennis, James Davies

Davies was sentenced to life with a 25-year minimum term, Melia to 22 years and six months minimum, Baines to 17 years for manslaughter - of which he will serve half - and six years for wounding to run concurrently, and Ennis to 14 years for manslaughter.

The trial heard the attack was the result of a turf war which had erupted between two rival gangs over the control of the drugs trade in Rhyl.

The defendants were members of the "Pensarn Crew", sometimes called "Ste's Crew", the court was told.

Mr Mason was a member of "Mark's Crew", or "Marco's Crew" - although it was not suggested that Mr Mason was the leader.

"The fatal attack appears to have been an act of retribution on the part of the defendants and Melia," Mr Paul Lewis QC said.

The court was told Mr Mason had been one of two masked men who approached Davies and Melia and chased them with knives as they were selling drugs.

Both were said to be very angry and contacted Baines and Ennis who came over from Liverpool intent on revenge.

During the incident, shouts of "stab him" and "kill him" could be heard.

Image copyright Family picture
Image caption Mark Mason was killed in a car park

The judge, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies, said Mr Mason was a "loving and caring father and son" and described the attack as "swift, savage and terrifying".

The court heard victim impact statements from Mr Mason's daughter Skye who said he had a great personality and lived life to the full.

"I am not saying he was a perfect person but when he was in a good place he was the most the most amazing person to have around," she said.

His mother, 70-year-old Betty Mason, said Mr Mason had worked for the Red Cross as a volunteer and was a "bright and talented" artist.

Iwan Jenkins of the Crown Prosecution Service said: "This attack was carried out in a public area with no concern for those who may've seen it.

"The sale of drugs was the catalyst for this crime and it highlights how damaging to the community this illegal activity continues to be.

"Our thoughts are with the families of those involved."

North Wales Police Det Supt Iestyn Davies, who led the investigation, welcomed the sentences, describing the four men as "dangerous, manipulative and violent".

"They preyed on the vulnerability of others in the Rhyl community to secure an established and elaborate drug supply network, Baines being the leader of the gang and controlled the business.

"Mark Mason, the victim had himself been involved in drug supply in the Rhyl area for some time and was to pay the ultimate price for this.

"When a feud broke out between two rival drug supply gangs the four defendants decided to deal with Mark Mason in the most violent means possible.

"This is a truly sad case which illustrates the dangers of becoming involved in not only drug taking but drug dealing criminality."

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