A man was ‘executed’ in a country lane near Doncaster less than a week after he moved in with his new girlfriend, who thought he was a wealthy man, a murder trial heard yesterday.
Alan Easton is believed to have been beaten, stabbed and buried alive under a heap of soil in a ditch near the village of Everton after being duped into thinking he was going out for a meal with Angela Dowling, who had been widowed only a few weeks earlier.
Dowling, aged 48, of Windmill Avenue, Conisbrough, and two men have gone on trial at Nottingham Crown Court accused of murdering Mr Easton, who was 50, and who lived previously in Dumbartonshire, Scotland.
Mathew Duffy, 23, of Sussex Street, Balby, is a friend of Dowling’s son, and Mark Andrew Bingham, 50, of Fishponds Road West,Woodthorpe, Sheffield, is said to be a ‘close friend’ of Dowling. All deny murder.
Woodthorpe, Sheffield, is said to be a ‘close friend’ of Dowling.
All deny murder.
Ian Unsworth, QC, prosecuting, told the jury Mr Easton was taken to a remote country lane at Everton ‘in the dead of night’ and was beaten, stabbed and buried alive.
“Those responsible simply left him to die,” he said. “The ditch became his grave.”
Each of the three defendants had different and significant roles, said Mr Unsworth.
A third man, Stephen Schofield – a lodger said to have also had a sexual relationship with Dowling – has already pleaded guilty to murder and is in custody.
Mr Easton went with them in Dowling’s car because he thought he was being taken out for a meal on February 1 last year.
Bingham remained at Dowling’s house but was in phone contact with her as she waited in the car, while Schofield and Duffy walked Mr Easton up Middle Cross Lane to the spot where he was attacked and buried.
Mr Unsworth said Dowling had lost her husband to leukaemia just after Christmas 2012, but by the middle of January she was seeing Mr Easton and he came to live with her on the 27th of that month, with the intention of settling in Conisbrough.
On the day he was killed he went to Mexborough Jobcentre to sign on for benefits, giving her address as his.
That night, said Mr Unsworth, ‘four people left that house and only three of them returned’.
“Alan Easton was lying dead or dying in a ditch,” he said. “They disposed of Mr Easton’s belongings and sought to cover their tracks. Plainly they were all in it together.”
The prosecution offered three possible motives for murder.
The first was that Mr Easton was not as wealthy as Dowling thought, because he had spent all of an inheritance. He could also have been killed because he was in possession of child pornography, and there was an allegation he had sexually interfered with Dowling’s teenage daughter.
“Whatever the motive, the prosecution say the defendants wanted rid of Mr Easton. To put it bluntly, he was executed in the middle of the night.”
Police uncovered evidence at the scene, including disposable gloves dropped near the grave, which the prosecution claim the four defendants bought at the Co-op in Edlington on the afternoon of the death.
The trial continues today and is expected to last four weeks.