Murder 'followed insurance fraud tip-off': Court told hitmen's victim was named in phone call to Lloyd's investigator. Malcolm Pithers reports

A MAN accused of conspiring to kill an accountant involved in an international shipping fraud tipped off a Lloyd's insurance investigator about the fraud plan and said that Special Branch would vouch for him, a jury at Carlisle Crown Court was told yesterday.

Stephen Schepke, 46, from Sidcup, south-east London, denies the conspiracy and aiding and abetting the killing of David Wilson, 47, who was shot in the head by two professional gunmen.

The Lloyd's investigator, Anthony Cook, told the jury he had been contacted on the telephone by Mr Schepke in October 1991, five months before the killing, and told about a dollars 40m ( pounds 26.5m) plan to defraud both Lloyd's and the buyers of a consignment of Marlboro cigarettes. He had also said he had previously operated in Army Intelligence.

Mr Cook, who was at the time manager of the advisory department of the regulatory directorate within Lloyd's, said it was customary for notes of all telephone conversations in his department to be made from a separate telephone speaker. This had been done during all his discussions with Mr Schepke.

The jury had earlier heard that Mr Wilson was murdered in the garage of his home in Chorley, Lancashire, in March 1992 by two unknown killers after he had been involved in arranging for the shipment of the cigarettes on a vessel he had bought and named after one of his daughters, Lisa Marie. He was shot after it became known he had been questioned by Fraud Squad officers.

The Crown's case, put by Brian Leveson QC, centres on the dealings between Mr Wilson and a man in New York referred to as 'the Colonel' and named as Hector Portillo, who was said to have wanted the Lancashire accountant killed.

The Crown alleges that Mr Schepke conspired with others to have Mr Wilson murdered and that details of his house in Chorley were faxed directly to Mr Portillo shortly before the assassination.

Yesterday, the third day of the trial, Mr Cook told the jury that Mr Schepke had first called him on 9 October 1991.

Mr Schepke told him that he had discovered a dollars 40m 'scam' involving two ships which should have been loaded with containers of Marlboro cigarettes. Mr Cook, reading from his telephone notes, said that Mr Schepke had said that both ships would be operated by 'bent skippers' and would be sunk at sea. He said he had no idea of how the sinking would be done or whether the lives of the crew would be in danger.

He had gone on to explain that a man known only as 'Ian' employed by Lloyd's was also involved in the fraud. He named 'Hector Moretto' as being involved and said that bank accounts had been set up in Zurich and Liechtenstein with fraudulent bonds.

He intimated that all the evidence in the fraud would be destroyed and that would include the paperwork and the 'meat and bones'.

He explained to the jury that there had been a series of telephone calls between them, and during one Mr Schepke had said that he had an intelligence network which 'was better than the Old Bill'. He had also told him that he had previously been in Army Intelligence and that Special Branch would vouch for him.

He had gone on to reveal that David Wilson was 'Hector Moretto's right-hand man'. Mr Schepke had also said that Mr Wilson was on the Home Office 'shit list'. He had advised Mr Schepke to talk to a Fraud Squad officer in the City of London about the plan.

The hearing continues today.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own