THE jury has been sent out to consider its verdict in the trial of five men accused of being involved in the murder of a drugs supplier in a layby.

Four men are on trial accused of the killing of Gurinderjit Rai in Shepherds Farm Lane, Corhampton, on July 12, 2019. Mr Rai was found the following day with two gunshot wounds.

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

A fifth man Philip Hodan, 43, of Longwood Dean Lane, Owslebury, denies participating in the criminal activities of an organised crime group.

The prosecution claim that Mr Rai’s murder was a “planned assassination” after tensions rose between Mr Rai, also known as G, and Hannis following the robbery of a safe house involved in the Hannis’ drugs operation.

Hannis also had a large outstanding debt to Mr Rai.

Andrew Langdon QC, prosecuting, told the jury earlier in the trial that the fatal shots that killed Mr Rai were believed to have been fired from a Mercedes A-class saloon car containing Hannis and Statham.

The pair are believed to have then dumped the car in a field where it was set alight, and they were picked up White and taken to the home Hodan.

The weapon, a sawn-off Beretta 12-bore shotgun, was supplied Barlow, the prosecutor said.

Hannis claims that it was not him who killed Mr Rai, but that two Liverpudlian men visited his home on the night of the murder, taking his phone, money owed to Mr Rai and the Mercedes that he bought for his drugs runner.

The accused said to the jury that the men later phoned and told him that they had killed Mr Rai.

Statham has said that he was a “dribbling mess” on the night of Mr Rai’s death after he had been drinking and taking drugs.

He told the court that he had taken 12 and 15 Valiums that evening and had no memory of that evening. He corroborated Hannis' claim that two men had visited Hannis' home in Eastleigh.

Hannis and Statham say that they travelled to Hodan’s with White on the night of July 12 to watch Amir Khan’s comeback fight. White said that he travelled alone taking Hannis’ Audi Q7 from his home.

Barlow has denied supplying the gun, that the prosecution says killed Mr Rai. He told the court that he bought the gun to hang on his wall.

It is agreed that Barlow was not in the Winchester area at the time of the murder but was at his partner’s house in Haywards Heath.

Hodan has denied that he provided a false alibi for his co-defendants and a base to use following the murder.