Murdered marijuana grower was ‘top bloke’

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A man who helped murder victim Murray Thompson 
water and cut cannabis plants told a jury yesterday that he was the nicest bloke he had ever met.

Christopher Woodthorpe said he had met Murray, who he called ‘Muz’ or ‘Muzza’, for the first time 15 or 16 years ago.

Giving evidence at St Albans Crown Court he said: “He was a top bloke. I didn’t know anyone who had a bad word against him. He was the nicest bloke I met.”

The prosecution allege Murray, who was a courier for Hemel Hempstead firm Gil-Lec electrical wholesalers in Apsley, was also a “gardener” at a Watford cannabis factory and was murdered by another grower in April 2010. His body was then disposed of and has never been found.

James Evans, 23, of Bushey Mill Lane, Watford, pleads not guilty to murdering 34-year-old Mr Thompson. He also denies conspiracy to produce cannabis and two counts of 
doing acts to pervert the course of justice.

Lee Sullivan, 47, of Hudson Road, Watford, who is said to be the ‘chief executive’ of a criminal operation to grow skunk cannabis, denies perverting the course of justice and four charges of intimidating a witness.

In the witness box Mr Woodthorpe said he met Mr Thompson through a man called Darren.

He said: “I bought weed from him. He introduced Murray Thompson as someone who could supply me because Darren wouldn’t do it any more.

“I last spoke to Murray at the end of the summer 2009. He was a user of drugs. I know he smoked cannabis. A few years ago he took cocaine, but as far as I know he wasn’t 
doing that then.”

He said he visited three properties in Watford with Murray where cannabis was being grown. He added: “James was occasionally there. Lee was the guy in charge of it all – the whole cannabis thing. “

When he had been tending to the plants he said Lee had brought up sandwiches.

Cross examined by Nigel Lithman QC, for James Evans, he admitted he had lied to the police in his first two interviews by not telling them about Murray’s or his involvement in growing cannabis, as he was trying to protect Murray.

He said he only told the police the truth when it was clear that Murray was not just missing.

The trial continues.