CLAIMS three drug dealers would risk their lucrative dealing enterprise by shooting dead a rival in a Southampton flat were branded as "sheer insanity"' a court heard.

James Mulholland, defending Pierre Lewis, one of three suspects accused of killing Jahmel Jones, told jurors there were "no problems" between drug dealers in the St Mary's area of Southampton in the build up to Mr Jones' shooting on April 20 last year.

Mr Jones died after suffering fatal gun shot wounds to the head and arm at a flat in 69 St Mary Street.

Winchester Crown Court previously heard prosecutors claim he was shot by Jemmikai Orlebar-Forbes with the assistance of Isaac Boateng and Lewis.

But Mr Mulholland told Winchester Crown Court it was Mr Jones, also known as Lucky, who may have had the plan to confront the trio that morning.

He said they were making £2,500 a day in dealing drugs around the area in the days leading up to April 18 when Boateng was arrested on suspicion of drug dealing.

It meant Boateng had to dispose of the drugs in his possession, leaving him with only 20 bags of crack cocaine and heroin.

He said the three friends travelled back up to London on April 19 to restock on drugs, dismissing the prosecution's claims it was to acquire the gun that killed Mr Jones.

Mr Mulholland told jurors: "There were no problems with anyone. In their garden the flowers were rosy because they were making good money.

"Why on are argh would these individuals, making £2,500 a day, decide to buy and gun to destroy the whole money among enterprise?

"By deciding in a premeditated way to shoot someone, that would be sheer insanity.

"The prosecution suggests that on April 19 they travelled to London to acquire a gun. There is a great deal of assertion and no evidence that anyone acquired a gun on that day.

"Mr Boateng had been arrested on April 18 and this was the first time this had happened. He had lost a significant amount of drugs and their supply line had been seriously depleted.

"They were running out of drugs."

Mr Mulholland said the hooded jumpers they were wearing on the day of the shooting were synonymous with drug dealers wanting to avoid detection from the police and CCTV cameras in the area.

He said there was also no evidence of urgency from the trio on the morning of the shooting or that they were searching for Mr Jones in St Mary's after they left the flat they were staying in at Graham House, Northam.

Mr. Mulholland added: "If they were to ambush him they would have in a location arranged in advance to carry out that ambush. They do not try to track him down to ambush him.

"They would have phoned him much earlier on the morning to ensure he was at a particular place at an arranged time.

"He was a drug dealer, everyone knows him. There is no question they would have got that number in seconds.

"There is no evidence of contact between any of them and Mr Jones' mobile phone from when the defendants got up, from the time they were walking from Graham House to St Mary Street or any time before 10.45am when they arrive at the flat.

"There is absolutely no evidence that these defendants were seeking out Mr Jones that day.

Lewis, 20, of Barnes, is jointly charged with the murder of Mr Jones along with Jemmikai Orlebar-Forbes, 20, of Cloudsdale Road, London, and Isaac Boateng, 22, of Hounslow.

They all deny the charge but have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

They are in the dock along with Rachel Kenehan, who denies conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice.