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The murderers burned their car after killing their victim.

Barking father and son guilty of “barbaric” murder

THE MURDER OF John Avers, 47, has been described by a police officer who worked on the investigation as “barbaric”. The evidence before the court exposed two heartless murderers – and the seedy side of drug trafficking in the heart of East London.

Murder victim John Avers

The officer was speaking after a trial at the Old Bailey found two men were found guilty of the killing: Bobby Ternent, 32, and his father Gary Ternent, 59 – both of them from Movers Lane, Barking. They will return to the Old Bailey on 10th February for sentencing.

The Court heard that the father and son arranged to meet John Avers – a man they described as their friend – in Wood Lane, Dagenham, on 13th September 2020. John got in the back of the car, and Bobby drove them all to a nearby supermarket car park in Whalebone Lane, where their “friend” became their victim.

Bobby got out of the car and opened the rear door. He and John then had a row, and Bobby pulled John out of the car, onto the ground. Gary got out of the passenger seat and got into the driver’s seat. He tried to reverse the car, but for some reason it would not move. Gary got out of the car again, and Bobby got back into the driver’s seat.

Bobby Ternent: drove over John Avers

We won’t repeat the gruesome details of what happened next. In brief, Bobby drove over John, leaving him with fatal injuries, before driving, with his father, to their home. There, they changed their clothes and Bobby drove the car a short way down the road, before setting fire to it. Police later found that Bobby had bought the car a month previously, and on the night of the murder it had false numberplates on.

However, some people who lived near the supermarket car park had seen what had happened, and others had head John’s screams. The London Ambulance Service and the Air Ambulance attended, but John was pronounced dead at the scene. A post mortem later found that he had died from multiple injuries, including several fractures and injuries to various vital organs.

The police were able to identify their suspects after watching the murder, and the suspects’ movements, on CCTV. Bobby was arrested five days after the murder, in a car being driven on the M2, near Gravesend, by his girlfriend. Bobby was arrested the following day at a guest house in Southend, where he had been staying, with his wife, since the day after the murder.

Gary Ternent: “no comment”

Gary did not answer any questions the police put to him, but Bobby admitted running over John and did talk to the police. Bobby told police that he and John had been very good friends, and Bobby had worked for John for years. Some three weeks before the murder, Bobby said, John called Bobby and asked him to look after £40,000 of “stolen drug money”.

On the day of the murder, John had asked for the money back. That is why they had all met up and gone to the supermarket car park. The row between John and Bobby happened because John said the money was short. Bobby alleged that John had said if Bobby didn’t give him the balance of the money, John would kill Bobby’s wife and children. Bobby said that he had believed this threat and, seeing John lying on the ground, had run over his legs to stop him getting up.

The jury heard alternative evidence that John was not involved in drug trafficking and had been a successful businessman. Bobby said that he had thrown the money out of the car as he drove back home, because he was scared. It was never found.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Rogers, the senior investigating officer from the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime Command, said: “This was nothing short of a cold and calculated execution. What Bobby and Gary did to their supposed good friend was absolutely shocking and was extremely distressing for those who witnessed it and those who have had to watch the graphic CCTV. John was already lying defenceless on the floor, there is absolutely no excuse that can justify holding him down and then running him over not once, not twice, but four times. It is barbaric.

“I am pleased that the jury agreed with the overwhelming evidence we collected against Bobby and Gary and found them both guilty of murder. It has been a very difficult time for John’s family and friends but I hope the fact that the Ternents now face a lengthy stint behind bars helps give them a small measure of comfort and closure.”

●Read more about it:
Police try to identify man after assault in Hackney
Newham murder: man appears in Court

●Watch East London’s weekly news magazine programme,
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