Father and son found guilty of Dagenham car park murder of John Avers
- Credit: Met Police
A father and son from Barking have been convicted of murdering businessman John Avers after repeatedly running him over in a Dagenham supermarket car park.
Bobby and Gary Ternent, aged 32 and 59 respectively, were found guilty of murder on Friday - January 28 - for the “cold and calculated execution” following a trial at the Old Bailey.
They arranged to meet 47-year-old John - a family friend - in Wood Lane, Dagenham around 11.30pm on September 13, 2020.
They drove him a few hundred yards to the quiet car park at Iceland in Whalebone Lane South, where he was beaten, held down and deliberately run over four times then left for dead.
The Ternents, both of Movers Lane, will be sentenced at the same court on February 10.
Det Ch Insp Mark Rogers, the senior investigating officer from the specialist crime command, said: "This was nothing short of a cold and calculated execution.
"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."
The court heard that when they arrived in the car park that night, Bobby got out of the car and opened the rear driver’s side door where John was sitting.
There was an altercation between the two men before John was pulled away from the BMW X6 and onto the ground by Bobby.
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Gary, who was in the front passenger seat, then moved into the driver’s seat and unsuccessfully attempted to reverse the car.
Bobby - who footage showed was crouching over John - swapped places with his father with the 47-year-old victim unable to get to his feet.
He turned the car around so it was facing his father who was holding John down.
Bobby drove straight towards them as Gary stepped out of the car’s path; he then watched as his son drove directly over John again before screeching to a halt.
Gary then got back into the car, driving over John two more times before fleeing the scene.
When they arrived home, Bobby changed into trousers instead of going inside.
Gary took Bobby’s shoes into the house while he drove a short way down the road, set fire to the car and abandoned it.
The car had been acquired about a month before and was displaying false plates.
A post-mortem examination ruled that John died from multiple injuries, suffering many fractures to his skull, sternum, pelvis and left-thigh bone.
Some 22 of his 24 ribs were fractured, while he also had injuries to his heart and liver.
During interview, Bobby told detectives that about three weeks before the murder, his one-time friend had asked him to look after £40,000 of stolen drug money, which he agreed to do.
On the day of the murder, Bobby said John had called saying he needed the money immediately, so they met and drove to the car park.
Bobby claimed a fight broke out after John had started to scream that some of the money was missing, alleging that he threatened to kill his wife and children.
The 32-year-old said he took the threat seriously and when he saw John on the ground, he panicked and tried to drive over his legs to stop him getting up.
He claimed he thought he had missed so ran over John again and said he did not see his father holding him down.
Bobby denied running over him a third and fourth time and told officers fear prompted him to throw the cash out of the car as he drove away.
The jury disagreed with Bobby’s account and heard that John was not a “big time villain”.
John's estranged wife Lesley told the trial that the pair separated after money problems saw John start to drink more.
Jurors heard that he texted her the day before he died saying, "I'll get your house back", referring to the fact that financial issues forced them to sell their dream home in Upminster.
Saying he was "pleased" with the jury's verdict, Det Ch Insp Rogers added: “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.”