North East Wales

Man denies 'inept' Rhyl Home Bargains murder involvement

Mark Mason Image copyright Family picture

A drug boss accused of murdering a man in a Denbighshire car park could not have planned the killing because it was "inept for his experience", a court has heard.

Mark Mason, 48, from Rhyl, died after being stabbed at the town's Home Bargains car park on 27 October 2016.

Anthony Baines, 30, from Liverpool, denies murder and malicious wounding with intent.

James Davies, 20 and Mark Ennis, 30, also deny the charges.

A fourth Liverpool man, Jake Melia, 21, has admitted all charges.

On Tuesday, a jury at Mold Crown Court heard Mr Baines had been at the scene but was not part of any "premeditated plan".

The prosecution had previously argued Mr Baines was the leader of a group of men who attacked Mr Mason and two others.

Drug debt

They claimed it was a revenge attack for one Mr Mason was believed to have carried out on them earlier that day.

But John McDermott QC, representing Mr Baines, said his client did not know beforehand what they were going to do.

He told the court: "If Anthony Baines did plan an assassination it was particularly inept for a man of his experience."

He added that "everything could have been done so much more cleverly".

The jury also heard Mr Davies had only been working for Mr Baines for a week at the time - recruited because he had to pay off a drug debt.

Patrick Harrington QC, representing Mr Davies, said: "This wasn't his battle, was it? He was the street level drug dealer.

"He was doing it to pay off a debt. He wasn't the person behind this."

Nigel Power QC, representing Mr Ennis, told the jury it was an "unappealing truth" that his client had been dealing class A drugs since at least 2005.

But on the many occasions he had been arrested, he said Mr Ennis had never been found to be carrying a weapon.

'Dangerous territory'

He said the prosecution wanted the jury to "run with the idea" that drug dealing was dangerous.

Mr Power said if the men had planned to kill Mr Mason, they could have easily lured him away to a place where their actions would not be caught on CCTV.

Instead, he said the defendants "were going into territory they knew was dangerous as far a surveillance is concerned".

Speaking of the attack, Mr Power said there was "no sensible basis on which you could conclude that Mr Ennis was in possession of a knife".

He asked the jury to look carefully at the CCTV footage and said the first flash of a blade caught on camera happened before his client go to the van where Mr Mason was stabbed.

He also said the footage showed Mr Ennis moving back from the van just seconds after the attack began.

The trial continues.

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