A TEXT message between a drugs supplier and the man accused of murdering him was read to a jury on the third day of a murder trial.

Aston Hannis exchanged messages about a drug debt with Gurinderjit Rai, 41,who was found shot to death in a layby at Corhampton in the Meon Valley in July 2019.

Hannis, an alleged cocaine and cannabis dealer, is said to have owed Mr Rai a six-figure sum at the time of the killing, the trial has heard.

Mr Rai texted on July 4, nine days before his death: "Bro, the debt is £115,380. At the moment you need to let me know by tomorrow how might get cash in, so I can let my supplier know. I'm stressed out mate...problem is I need him for weed (cannabis)."

There were also messages between Hannis and a man about a robbery of drugs and possibly money from their safe house. The prosecution say the defendants may have blamed Mr Rai.

The trial also heard police secretly filmed and recorded Charlie Statham and Hannis in the back of a police van while being taken to magistrates court shortly after their arrest. They discussed their alibis and potential forensic evidence against them.

Andrew Langdon QC, prosecuting, said: "Hannis in particular was anxious that they get their stories straight. Statham is less forthcoming. His general line is 'I can't remember' and that he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Mr Langdon said the two men were together on the Friday evening (of the killing) and talked of watching boxing on TV.

He said: “The two men knew it was possible that they were being recorded. You will judge for yourselves when you watch and listen to these recordings in due course there are plenty of protestations of innocence, of ignorance, of astonishment at the lack of evidence but you will need to ask whether it was because they were innocent or because they thought they were being recorded.

"However when you study what they say more carefully something much more interesting begins to emerge.

“They were concerned about what DNA evidence may be found in the car, probably the Fiesta (where Mr Rai was killed). They were concerned to have an explanation ready for shotgun residue that might be found. This is a case where evidence against defendants does not include DNA findings or shotgun residues but at that stage shortly after their arrests neither of them knew that, neither knew what police would or would not find.”

Mr Langdon told the jury Hannis and Stratham "carried out the execution", with Corin Barlow supplying the weapon and Paul White driving to meet them after their Mercedes was dumped.

Hannis, 29, of Leah Gardens, Eastleigh; Statham, 30, of Crescent Close, Oliver's Battery; Barlow, 41, from Horley, Surrey; Paul White, 27, of Dyson Drive, Abbotts Barton, all deny murder.

Phillip Hodan, 43, of Longwood Dean Lane, Owslebury, denies participating in the criminal activities of an organised crime group.

Expert witness Annette Hodge, of Hampshire police, with more than 40 year experience in drugs crime, said the evidence from messages and mobile phones showed that Hannis was involved in drug dealing.

The trial continues.