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Accused met Murray Thompson on day of disappearance
5:20pm Wednesday 5th September 2012 in News
THE man accused of murdering Murray Thompson at a Watford cannabis factory told a jury on Monday he had met him there on the day he disappeared, but said they had left together and gone their separate ways.
James Evans said he had gone to the flat above a chemist shop in St Albans Road , Watford, to meet Murray, who wanted him to carry out some decorating work there.
He said after looking around the flat and seeing what needed to be done, it was agreed he would carry out the work as a way of paying off a drug debt for £180 which he owed Murray, who lived in St Albans with his girlfriend.
At around 7pm on the evening of April 20 2010 - the last day 34 year old Murray was seen alive - Mr Evans said they both left the flat after it was agreed he would start the work the next day.
He told the jury at St Albans crown court "We left at the same time. As we came out of the flat his van was to the left and my car was to the right. I got in my car and drove off and I didn't see where he went."
It's claimed by the prosecution that while the two men were in the flat, Mr Evans murdered Murray, whose body has never been found.
In the witness box, Mr Evans told the jury Murray Thompson was taller than him and "bigger" and a martial arts instructor. If they had fought he said he would have come out the loser.
Earlier Mr Evans said that he knew Murray Thompson was involved in the production of cannabis at a number of rented properties in the Watford area.
He said he had first met him in 2007 and described him as a nice person, but who was "a bit of a dodgy fella, ducking and diving and doing things he shouldn't."
Mr Evans said he had started using cannabis when he was 16 while at college and he said Murray Thompson was someone who would supply him with the drug.
Mr Evans said that in 2007 Murray told him that he wanted someone to live in one of the houses that was operating as a cannabis factory.
He said at the time he was not getting on with his father who he was living with and so he took up the offer and went to live in the house in Sutton Road, Watford.
The prosecution claim that both Murray Thompson and James Evans were "gardeners" whose job it was to tend and water cannabis plants being grown at various addresses in Watford.
During the trial the prosecution have said it wasn't known what the motive for the killing was, but it had taken place against a background of "serious, organised criminal activity involving the production for commercial supply of controlled drugs."
James Evans, 24, of Bushey Mill Lane, Watford, pleads not guilty to murdering Murray. He also denies conspiracy to produce cannabis and two counts of doing acts to pervert the course of justice.
Lee Sullivan, 47, of Hudson Road, Watford, who is said to be the "chief executive" of the criminal operation to grow skunk cannabis, denies perverting the course of justice and four charges of intimidating a witness.