TWO men have been guilty of the “planned assassination” of a drugs supplier who met his death in a remote layby.

Gurinderjit Rai met drug dealer Aston Hannis and friend Charlie Statham in Shepherds Farm Lane, Corhampton, on July 12, 2019, where he was blasted at point-blank range with a sawn-off shotgun to his head and neck. He was found the following day by two horse riders.

Daily Echo: Gurinderjit RaiGurinderjit Rai

The killing of the father-of-two was the culmination of increasing tensions between Mr Rai and Hannis over a large outstanding debt.

Mr Rai texted on July 4: "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)."

Today a jury at Winchester Crown Court unanimously found Hannis, 30, of Leah Gardens, Eastleigh, and Statham, 30, of Crescent Close, Oliver's Battery, guilty of murder.

As the verdicts were given there were cries from the public gallery from the murderers' families.

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

The jury was unable to provide a unanimous verdict on three other defendants Paul White, Corin Barlow and Philip Hodan.

White and Barlow are accused of murder, while Hodan is accused of participating in the criminal activities of an organised crime group.

Mrs Justice Cutts has now given the jury a majority verdict direction, which means that at least 10 of them have to agree on a verdict.