Suffolk woman hatched plan with her father to have ex-partner murdered, court told
PUBLISHED: 19:14 04 January 2017 | UPDATED: 19:14 04 January 2017
A Suffolk woman and her wealthy businessman father hatched a plan to have her former partner murdered by three hitmen after their relationship ended acrimoniously, it has been alleged.
Shortly before Jonathan Catchpole was blasted in the chest with a double barrelled sawn-off shotgun in the botched assassination attempt, one of the hired killers allegedly told him: “Rebecca wants you dead.”
Mr Catchpole, who is in his 30s, suffered a serious gunshot wound to his chest as a result of the attack at his flat in The Forum, Bury St Edmunds, in August 2015, but “miraculously” survived, Ipswich Crown Court heard today.
Before the court is Rebecca Deferia, 30, of Carnation Way, Red Lodge, who has denied conspiring to murder Mr Catchpole between August 2014 and August 2015 with her father Colin Deferia and four other men.
The court heard Colin Deferia, 60, of Barking, Suffolk, Simon Webber, 32, of Somerset, and Frank Warren, 52, Paul Baker, 35, and Andrew Seaton, 40, all of Dorset, had denied conspiring to murder Mr Catchpole, but were convicted after a trial last year.
Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, claimed Rebecca Deferia was “at the heart” of the plot to have Mr Catchpole murdered and said it was “inconceivable” the others involved would have done what they did without her express wishes.
The court heard the relationship between Rebecca Deferia and Mr Catchpole began in 2008 and ended in June 2013 after she moved back home with her parents and had the locks changed on the home she had shared with him in Daisy Avenue, Bury St Edmunds.
Mr Jackson said after the end of his relationship with Rebecca Deferia, who was Colin Deferia’s only child and “appeared to want for nothing”, Mr Catchpole had been subjected to “escalating acts of hostility”.
On June 22, 2013 Rebecca Deferia and her father had allegedly gone to Neptune Kitchens in Bury St Edmunds where Mr Catchpole worked and dumped bin liners containing his clothes – which had been slashed – in the car park.
On that occasion Colin Deferia had allegedly threatened Mr Catchpole by saying: “I’m going to have you Catchpole. You’d better watch your back.”
He had also threatened to rip Mr Catchpole’s head off, said Mr Jackson.
Subsequently the tyres on Mr Catchpole’s car were slashed and he also discovered the brake cables on the vehicle had been cut while he was at a meeting in Needham Market.
“We say this defendant and her father were directly responsible for the attacks on Mr Catchpole’s car,” alleged Mr Jackson.
While Mr Catchpole was staying with his sister in Colchester she received a threatening letter saying: “This is your last chance. You know what you have done. Shut your mouth or see what happens. That’s a promise.”
Mr Jackson said that although no-one saw who posted the letter, the jury could infer it was delivered at the behest of Rebecca Deferia.
Colin and Rebecca Deferia had also allegedly hired a private detective to carry out a “thorough and highly intrusive” search into Mr Catchpole and members of his family.
“Their intention was to obtain information to plan the execution of Mr Catchpole,” claimed Mr Jackson.
In the weeks leading up to the shooting, Rebecca Deferia had also allegedly carried out an internet search for the floor plan of Mr Catchpole’s flat.
“The prosecution say it was for one reason. She knew Mr Catchpole was to be murdered in that flat and the floor plan would be of considerable use to the gunmen,” claimed Mr Jackson.
After her arrest, Rebecca Deferia had given police a prepared statement denying her involvement in the conspiracy to murder Catchpole and had given “no comment” answers to questions.
The court heard Mr Catchpole was shot after Seaton, Warren and Webber stormed into his flat on the evening of August 4, 2015.
“They were assassins or hitmen who had been hired by this defendant Rebecca Deferia, her father Colin Deferia and a friend of theirs called Paul Baker.
“They hired those hitmen to murder Jonathan Catchpole.”
When the men went into Mr Catchpole’s home they were armed with a fully loaded, double-barrelled sawn-off shotgun carried by Webber.
Before the trigger was pulled one of the hitmen allegedly shouted “Rebecca wants you dead” and having shot Mr Catchpole the three men left his flat and escaped in a stolen car before burning it and the gun.
They then returned to Dorset in Seaton’s car.
Mr Jackson claimed the shooting was “the final act of an elaborate conspiracy” to murder Mr Catchpole.
He alleged that knowing the “murder” would result in a police investigation, Colin and Rebecca Deferia’s plans even involved laying a false trail by trying to make detectives think the death of Mr Catchpole would be over the selling of drugs.
The trial, which is expected to end later this month, continues tomorrow.