Father and son jailed for 'ruthless' Iceland car park murder
- Credit: Met Police
A father and son have been jailed for life for the "ruthless execution" of their "family friend" who they repeatedly drove over in an Iceland car park.
Gary Ternent, 59, held down John Avers as his 32-year-old son Bobby ran over him four times in his BMW X6 in the supermarket grounds off Whalebone Lane South, Dagenham on September 13, 2020.
Judge Anne Molyneux sentenced the pair - both of Movers Lane - to life imprisonment at the same court today (April 19).
In passing sentence, she described the CCTV footage captured of the murder as "truly harrowing".
Bobby Ternent must serve a minimum term of 25 years, while his father has been handed a minimum term of 23 years.
Throughout the course of the trial, jurors heard that Bobby had told detectives in a police interview that about three weeks before the murder, Mr Avers had asked him to look after £40,000 of stolen drug money.
On the day of the murder he claimed Mr Avers wanted it back, so he and his father picked up the 47-year-old in Wood Lane at about 11.30pm.
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From there, they drove him a few hundred yards to the car park.
Bobby said a fight then ensued after Mr Avers began screaming that some of the money was missing.
He further claimed that the 47-year-old threatened to kill his wife and children during the skirmish.
Mr Avers was then held down on the ground by Gary Ternent before Bobby deliberately ran over him four times, after which they drove off leaving him left for dead.
"Witnesses were horrified by what they saw," said Judge Molyneux.
"Mr Avers was screaming and a neighbour heard him cry out, 'Help me, help me'.
"This was a ruthless execution without mercy of a helpless man.
"It was a sustained and violent attack."
A post-mortem ruled Mr Avers died from multiple injuries, suffering many fractures to his skull, sternum, pelvis and left-thigh bone.
Bobby Ternent claimed he had thrown the £40,000 out of the car window as they drove off, although said he couldn't remember where.
The claim was denounced as "just ridiculous" by the judge, who said it was "no more than an "attempt to discredit Mr Avers".
"There is no credible evidence that Mr Avers was ever in possession of stolen money or that the meeting was set up by him. Quite why Mr Avers came to meet you may never be known," observed Judge Molyneux.
She continued: "I have no doubt the evidence of Bobby Ternent was untrue, and I am sure that considering the evidence as a whole that your joint plan was to act together to cause him really serious bodily harm."
Referencing evidence that the pair had used a car with false number plates, the judge added: "Thanks to a meticulous investigation by the police and the courage of those who witnessed it, your attempts to avoid justice did not succeed."
A statement read to the court from Mr Avers' wife - who lived with him in Upminster before they separated in March 2020 - 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 heart breaking.
“We think and talk about John every day.
"He was a good dad and I know he loved his girls unconditionally. They [the Ternents] 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."
She added: “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 great healer, I hope this is true. John was loved by so many people, still is and always will be.”