Fake £20 used to pay for drug deal cost John Wright his life, court hears

USING a fake £20 to buy drugs was no justification for the murder of an addict, a court heard.

John Wright was beaten with an extendable baton before being fatally stabbed in the back after he was attacked by two young drug dealers intent on exacting revenge.

Kienan Johnson and Jordan Vaughan are accused of working together to mete out their summary justice to show drug users and dealers that they meant business, said John Elvidge QC, prosecuting.

He told jurors sitting at Teesside Crown Court how the pair had armed themselves with weapons in anticipation of Mr Wright coming to them looking to score his next deal.

“They believed he had robbed them,” he said. “This was about revenge, it was about a £20 deal; it was about making a statement to other customers and other people in the drugs world. That’s why celebratory snaps were posted on Instagram.”

Mr Elvidge added: “They were not interested in having a word with John Wright, they were not interested in giving him a clip or a slap – that would have been inadequate – to make the point they want to make.

“They made the point by using weapons deliberately and unlawfully with the intent of hurting John Wright and that is what they did.

“There was no lawful justification for attacking John Wright.”

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Earlier in the trial, the jury heard how Mr Wright was fatally injured when he suffered a single stab wound in the back causing significant internal bleeding.

Vaughan has admitted using the knife to stab Mr Wright but maintains it was in self-defence after the 41-year-old got the better of him in a fight.

Toby Hedworth QC, representing Vaughan, told the jury that his client only used the knife to prevent himself from being seriously injured fearing Mr Wright was going to hit him with a brick.

Richard Wright QC, representing Johnson, said the pair had taken part in a ‘cowardly and callous attack’ on Mr Wright over a drug debt paid with a fake £20.

He told the jurors how Johnson had admitted using the baton to strike Mr Wright but he was not involved in the fight when the knife was used.

Mr Wright was found dead in Parliament Street, Stockton, at 2pm on Sunday, December 29, 2019.

Vaughan, 21, of Harlow Crescent, Thornaby, and Johnson, 22, of Windsor Road, Stockton, pleaded not guilty to murder.

The Northern Echo | Teesside