A jury in the trial of the assasination style murder of Gurinderjit Rai have this morning found Aston Hannis, 30, of Leah Gardens, Eastleigh, and Charlie Statham, 30, of Crescent Close, Oliver’s Battery, guilty of murder at the end of a trial at Winchester Crown Court
The jury was unable to agree on an unanimous verdict for defendants Paul White, Corin Barlow and Philip Hodan. Mrs Justice Cutts has now given the jury a majority verdict direction meaning at least 10 of the jury must agree on the decision.
Paul White and Corin Barlow have now been found guilty of manslaughter for their involvement on the murder.
All four will be sentenced on the 24th of April.
The jury found Philip Hodan, 43, of Longwood Dean Lane, Owslebury, not guilty of participating in the criminal activities of an organised crime group by providing his address to be used as an operational base or a false alibi to supply class A drugs and the murder of Gurinderjit Rai.
Cries were heard from the families of the convicted in the public gallery as the verdicts were given.
Bricklayer Aston Hannis was stopped by police and arrested after Gurinderjit Rai’s body was discovered in a black Ford Fiesta that was parked in a layby.
The court heard during the trial that Mr Rai, 41, had suffered two shotgun wounds to the head – one to his chin and the other the temple – and was then left in the parked car close to a golf club in Corhampton, Hants.
The day after his body was found, police stopped Hannis in Winchester, Hants, while he was driving a black Audi, as part of their investigation, discovering a ‘number of phones’ in the vehicle.
At 9.58 on Thursday, July 13, a member of the public called the police to report a body had been found in a black Ford Fiesta. Police attended and confirmed the man was dead.
“They identified him as Mr Rai and post-mortem showed he sustained to gunshot wounds, one to the chin and one to the temple.
Aston Hannis, was stopped in a black Audi, on July 14. His vehicle was searched and a number of phones were found.
One of those was a black Apple iPhone X that was nearby the steering wheel. The police could not gain access to that phone.
When the defendant was interviewed, he refused to provide the code.”
Paying tribute, his family said: “Gurinderjit was a devoted father to his two young children and a loving fiancé to his partner. He adored his parents.
“He had an infectious sense of humour and would always find the best of any situation.
“He was a principled man and would always be the first to offer help to those that needed it. He will be missed dearly by all his family and friends.