Accountant `was executed after daylight kidnap'

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An accountant who was kidnapped in broad daylight, during a shopping trip, was stabbed and then "executed" on a desolate shingle bank, a court was told yesterday.

He was murdered in as "callous, cruel, chilling and calculated" a manner as one could imagine, the prosecution said.

He was taken to his place of "execution", where he was stabbed and was then left.

Eventually, he died from a combination of shock, hypothermia and stab wounds, a jury heard at Winchester Crown Court.

Matthew Pearce, 21, from Portsmouth, and Darren Jones, 21, from Southsea, Hampshire, both deny murdering Grant Price, 43.

They also deny a second charge of unlawfully wounding another man, 20- year-old James Wink.

Mr Michael Hubbard QC, for the prosecution, said that the accountant had been kidnapped in a busy car park at Gosport, Hampshire, on a Saturday afternoon in January last year.

"He was kidnapped in the sense that he was bundled into his own motorcar, which he had parked in that car park in the sight of his eight-year-old boy," counsel said. "He was about to take his son to keep an appointment at an optician's in the high street in Gosport."

Counsel said that Mr Price was then driven around the countryside, during which attempts were made, some of which were successful, to get money from cashpoint machines using his cash cards. He was then bundled into the boot of his car, gagged and driven more than 40 miles through the New Forest to Keyhaven.

"Then he was subjected to a walk of something in the order of one-and- a-half miles along a desolate, exposed, windy shingle bank, which marks the entrance of the western approaches of the Solent," said Mr Hubbard.

"He was led to the spot of his execution," said counsel, and there he was stabbed in the back of the neck, in the neck angle of the jaw and in the left cheek.

"He did not die immediately. He was left in a spot which is as desolate as you might expect to find on the coastline, some 17 feet above the high- tide mark, and eventually he died, as a combination of shock, hypothermia and stab wounds."

Mr Hubbard said that three hours or so before Mr Price was kidnapped, a 20-year-old man had been subjected to a vicious attack with a knife in a car park five miles away at Fareham, when he refused to hand over the keys to his car.

The prosecution alleged that both the attacks were linked and that they were committed by the two accused. "We suggest that the manner of the death of that accountant was as callously, cruel and chilling and calculated as one can imagine," Mr Hubbard said.

The trial continues.