Mother and son found unanimously guilty of murdering South Yorkshire man
A mother and son have been found unanimously guilty of murdering a South Yorkshire man they were embroiled in a bitter land feud with.
The body of 48-year-old Gary Dean in a wooded area behind Moorend Lane, Silkstone Common, near to where he lived, on September 6 last year.
Carol Dawson, 72, of Stonewood Grove, Barnsley and Scott Dawson, 41, of Allotts Grove, Barnsley were found guilty of Mr Dean’s murder earlier this afternoon, following a five week trial at Sheffield Crown Court.
It took the jury of seven men and five women 12 hours and five minutes of deliberation to find both defendants unanimously guilty.
There was crying in the public gallery after the verdicts were returned, but both defendants remained silent throughout.
The Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, told the murderous pair they will both receive sentences of life imprisonment, and he will decide the minimum term during a sentencing hearing on Monday.
Mr Dean’s wife, Caroline, and his mother, Denise, are set to read their victim personal statements to the court this afternoon.
As he discharged the jury, Judge Richardson thanked them for their public service, and said: “Justice, I am sure, has been done.”
During the opening of the trial last month, prosecutor Peter Moulson QC, said a long standing dispute had arisen between Mr Dean and Scott Dawson over the Mr Dean’s use of a footpath which ran across Mr Dawson’s land.
The court was told Mr Dean would regularly walk, cycle and run across the land - which Mr Dawson had bought some years earlier for £300,000 - using a public right of way.
“Scott and Carol Dawson pursued a vendetta against Gary Dean who they accused of causing problems on their land,” said Mr Moulson.
A sign reading ‘stay away’ had been posted on a stile, leading to the land and similar messages had been written on Mr Dean’s house and car along with the word ‘paedo’, Mr Moulson said.
On the morning of the murder, Mr Moulson said Carol Dawson acted as a ‘lookout’, waiting in a layby off House Carr Lane for Mr Dean’s wife Caroline to leave for work shortly before 7am.
The prosecution say the Dawsons then brutally attacked Mr Dean as he strayed onto their land, shooting him in the back with an air rifle and hitting him with the same weapon before striking him with a rock and heavy branches.
The pair had hoped to return to the scene later in the day to dispose of Mr Dean’s body with a JCB they owned but were thwarted when a walker discovered him that afternoon.
Text messages found on the phones of the accused indicated they were aware of Mr Dean’s morning routine.
The Dawsons were remanded into custody until this afternoon’s hearing.