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Boss murder accused 'blank faced during ordeal'

A truck driver accused of killing his boss during a four-hour ordeal had a "cold and blank" look on his face, a court was told today.

Russell Carter was described as being expressionless during the incident last October at an industrial unit in New Inn, Pontypool, South Wales.

The 52-year-old from Rumney, Cardiff, denies murdering Kingsley Monk and the attempted murder of three other Driverline 247 employees.

A jury heard during the opening on Monday how Carter thought he was owed money by father-of-two Mr Monk and resented being called a "coward" on a phone message after he failed to turn up for work.

Carter used cable ties and rope to bind Mr Monk and colleagues Gethin Heal, Nathan Taylor and Robert Lewis, the court heard.

At Newport Crown Court today, Mr Heal took to the stand to give his account of the incident.

He said at one point while he was tied around his wrists and feet and placed inside the toilet of the premises, he could hear Mr Monk's screams coming from the main office.

"You could hear muffled screaming coming from Kingsley," said a visibly upset Mr Heal.

"The screams were haunting. It was terrible. I have never heard anything like it before."

When asked by prosecutor David Aubrey QC about Carter's demeanour throughout the incident, Mr Heal replied: "He was blank and cold. There was never any expression on his face; it was just blank."

Mr Heal said he had never met Carter before the incident at the Driverline 247 premises on 20 October although he had spoken to him a number of times over the phone.

He described one particular call when Carter became aggressive after being told he would be docked money from his wages for an accident he was involved in.

"He said 'How can I pay that if I haven't got enough money to live on'," said Mr Heal. "He was aggressive and it was just the way he was talking over the phone.

"I managed to calm him down after I said I would guarantee him three to four shifts a week.

"I was able to calm him down and we were able to sort something out. As far as I was concerned, we had sorted something out."

The jury heard that Mr Heal was the first person to arrive at work on the day of the incident. As he parked his car, he said he noticed another car parked across some bays with somebody in it. He said this was very unusual.

After opening up the front door and walking upstairs to the main office, Mr Heal said he heard a noise behind him and, when he turned around, he saw Carter stood there with a gun in his hand.

"The gun was in his right hand and he was pointing it at me," said Mr Heal.

"It was a silver and black hand gun. He had surgical gloves on his hands and a black laptop case in his other hand."

Mr Heal said he was then told by Carter to 'do as I tell you or I will kill your ass'.

He added: "He also said that it was Kingsley that he wanted and not me."

Mr Heal said his hands were then bound together in front of him with cable ties. The court heard cable ties were also used to tie his ankles together and duct tape was placed over his mouth.

He said he was made to hop into the kitchen area of the premises and into the small toilet where he was told to sit down on the lid.

The jury heard Carter took a mobile phone from Mr Heal's belt.

Mr Heal said when Carter left him alone to go into the office area, he dialled 999 on a second mobile phone he kept for personal calls that the defendant had missed in his shirt pocket.

"I put the phone back in my pocket and I was hoping that somebody would hear what was going on because I couldn't speak due to the duct tape," said Mr Heal.

The jury heard Carter soon found out about the phone call from the 999 operator's voice which was audible due to the volume being turned up high to compensate for Mr Heal's poor hearing.

Mr Heal said Carter grabbed the phone from his pocket and terminated the call when he saw who was on the line from the display.

"He said 'I told you not to do anything'," said Mr Heal. "He went and got the duct tape roll and put it around my head and face two or three times. It was over my nose and I could hardly breathe.

"He told me 'I warned you not to do anything'. I honestly thought he was going to kill me. He told that he was going to kill me."

Mr Heal said Carter also grabbed his wallet and saw his driving licence inside.

At this point, the jury heard Carter had said: "I know where you live now."

Mr Heal said: "It frightened me because I knew my wife was finishing work early that day."

The court heard Carter's attention was diverted by the sound of Mr Taylor and Mr Lewis entering the office and he rushed out to confront them.

"I heard them opening the door and I heard Nathan saying 'Russell, what do you want?' Then I could hear Bob screaming 'It's burning, my eyes are burning!'

"I heard Russell saying 'Do as you are told or I will burn you'."

Mr Heal said when Mr Taylor and Mr Lewis were brought to where he was sat, they were tied with their hands behind their backs. He said he could also smell petrol coming from them.

The court was told Carter was just about to tie both men around the feet, when Mr Monk was heard entering the office.