Car park killing: Victim's wife tells trial about the last text he sent her

John Avers, 47, died in a car park in Whalebone Lane, Dagenham.

John Avers, 47, died in a car park in Whalebone Lane, Dagenham - Credit: Met Police

John Avers' wife has given evidence about the last contact the couple had before he was repeatedly run over in a Dagenham car park by his "friend".

Lesley Avers had separated from 47-year-old Mr Avers six months before he was run over four times behind the Iceland in Whalebone Lane South on September 13 2020.

Bobby Ternent, 32, has admitted to driving the BMW X6 seen in CCTV footage shown to jurors at the Old Bailey, while his 59-year-old father Gary Ternent allegedly held Mr Avers on the ground in front of the car.

Both men, of Movers Lane in Barking, deny murder.

Speaking at the ongoing trial, Mrs Avers told the court that she met her husband about 30 years ago at school in Barking when they were both aged 15. 

After the birth of their two daughters, in 2006 they moved to Mrs Avers' "dream home" in Grosvenor Gardens, Upminster.

At the time Mr Avers was running his own successful sash window company, J Avers Carpentry Ltd - but about 10 years ago the business began to go downhill.

Mrs Avers broke down in court as she described how Mr Avers had begun "drinking heavily", and that he had "ran into money trouble". 

Defence barrister David Hislop QC asked if the drink had led to the downfall of the business.

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"Yes his drinking got worse, I think he started to gamble and the business went down," said Mrs Avers.

"With the drink, I think you've told the police his personality changed completely," said Mr Hislop. 

"He was someone who when sober was a nice guy but he changed dramatically when he was intoxicated, and part of that change was he was capable of becoming very aggressive, do you agree?"

"Yes," said Mrs Avers.

The couple separated in March 2020, and sold the house for £1.2m.

By September, they were barely in contact. 

But Mr Avers texted his wife on September 12 - the day before he was killed - to say: "I'll get your house back."

"That of course was your dream home and we know from doing the arithmetic that would have required in reality in excess of a million pounds to get it back," said Mr Hislop.

"Tell me, had you any idea where he might get that sum of money from?"

"He just said he would," replied Mrs Avers.

The trial continues.

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