Father and Son who killed family friend in Dagenham over £40,000 get life sentence
A father and son who killed a family friend, John Avers, have been jailed.
The duo callously murdered the friend by holding him down and repeatedly driving over him in a supermarket car park in Dagenham.
Gary Ternent, 59, and his son Bobby Ternent both of Movers Lane, Barking, were sentenced at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, 19 April.
They were both jailed for life, with Gary to serve a minimum of 23 years and his son, Bobby, to serve at least 25 years.
They were both found guilty of murder following an earlier trial at the same court.
The court heard that on 13 September 2020, around 23:30hrs, Bobby and John met in Wood Lane, Dagenham, before Bob drove him in a silver BMW X6 with Gary in the front passenger seat.
Bobby drove to a supermarket car park in Whalebone Lane South. There was an altercation between the two men and John, who pulled him away from the car onto the ground.
CCTV captured Bobby crouching over John while Gary attempted to reserve the car. The father switched places with his son as John struggled to get his feet at the time.
Gary had held John down while Bobby, facing his father, drove straight towards them, causing him momentarily to allow his father to step back out of the car’s path. However, John was unable to do the same.
Then Gary stood and watched as Bobby turned the car around and drove directly over John again before screeching to a halt.
The father joined his son in the car as they both drove over John fourth time.
The court heard how the duo left John for dead and drove him. While at home, Bobby pulled off his clothes and shoes and drove the car away down the road before setting it on fire in an attempt to cover their heinous crime.
The police said the father and son had placed a false plate on the car, which was barely acquired a month before, not to have it traced back to them.
Concerned residents alerted officers after hearing the sound of John’s screams.
According to the police investigation, a resident told officers that he thought they were just trying to scare someone and would stop.
He said, “I couldn’t believe what I saw next, and I still can’t believe that anyone would do that to someone.”
He watched in horror as John was run22 over four times in what he called a deliberate act.
John was found in a large pool of blood, evidence that he had suffered many severe injuries. Despite best efforts, he was pronounced dead at the scene at 00:22hrs on 14 September 2020.
A post-mortem showed that John had 22 of his 24 ribs fractured, resulting in six separate penetrating wounds to his lungs.
It also had injuries to his heart and liver.
Detectives arrested Bobby on 18 September 2020 after officers acted on intelligence and stopped a vehicle on the M2 near Gravesend, which his girlfriend was driving.
Gary was arrested the following day at a guest house in Southend-on-Sea.
The investigation by detectives showed that Gary and his wife booked an impromptu vacation at the guest house a day after the murder.
Bobby’s confession to the police
Police said Gary refused to comment on all questions, but Bobby admitted running over John.
According to Bobby, he and John were very good friends and that he had worked for him for years.
However, the problem started when John called Bobby to look after £40,000 of alleged stolen drug money for him. Bobby said he agreed and kept the cash in his car.
Bobby claimed that on the day of the murder, John called him asking for the money immediately. They had met at the Supermarket car park, where John allegedly screamed and threatened to kill his wife and children because the money fell short.
He told the police that he didn’t mean to kill him but wanted to drive over his legs to stop him from getting up.
Bobby also claimed he didn’t see his father holding John down and denied running over him a third and fourth time.
As for the money’s whereabouts, Bobby claimed he threw the £40,000 out of the car out of fear as he admitted setting the car on fire and changing into trousers – he said he did it because he was cold.
The jury disagreed with Bobby’s account and heard that John was not a ‘big-time villain’ but that he had, in fact, been a successful businessman in his day, owning a company that specialised in sash windows.
In a statement read to the court, John’s family said:“When we got the knock on the door, our lives changed forever. The pain we felt being told that John had died and the way he died was heartbreaking.
“We think and talk about John every day. He was a good dad, and I know he loved his girls unconditionally. They have taken something from them that can never be replaced, their dad.
“There will be so many milestones and achievements that he will miss from their lives, but he will always be held close in our hearts and our memories.”
“Our hearts are broken, and I’m not sure we will ever feel the same again. The pain in our hearts is something we can’t describe. People say time is a great healer; I hope this is true. John was loved by many people, still is, and always will be,” according to the family.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Rogers, the senior investigating officer from the Specialist Crime Command, said: “What Bobby and Gary did to their supposed good friend was nothing short of a cold and calculated execution.
“John was already lying defenceless on the floor after being attacked by Bobby; 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 absolutely barbaric.
“Their heinous crime was absolutely shocking and extremely distressing for those who witnessed it and for John’s loved ones, who not only had to listen to the harrowing evidence given in court but will have to live knowing the cruelty of what John endured in his final moments.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for John’s family and friends, but I hope the fact that the Ternents are now starting a lengthy stint behind bars will help to give them a small measure of comfort and closure.”©Standard Gazette, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s publisher is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Standard Gazette with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.