Former Detective Constable Alyson Sayers told Birmingham Crown Court her son Jonathan Houseman was a kind man and that hasn’t changed even after his convictions for two murders.
On 30th September 2020 Johnathan shot William Henry and Brian Mcintosh multiple times at point blank range while sat in the back of his own Range Rover.
When I arrived at the crime scene I had no idea who was involved only that it was a double murder.
It was only three minutes from the double crossbow murders on Pensnett road which I had also documented in the same year.
It was always quite surreal working during lockdown as the streets were always deathly quiet.
The scene was a short drive from Brierley Hill high street where most the businesses had closed down completely.
Driving past the Old glass works in Old Brierley you approach Moor street industrial.
I’m familiar with the area as I lived here for a year before in the estate behind the abandoned train tracks which lay parallel to the Albion works, which is the location the murders took place.
The cordon was already in place and journalists were arriving, I knew behind the Albion works there was a alley way which i could only access by driving all the way round.
I decided to do this to see if there was any other police cordons, upon reaching Springfield road we drive down to a cul- de -sac and there is a alleyway that runs the entire length of the industrial estate.
The alley was blocked by police van and police dogs were searching undergrowth while detectives were doing door to door.
I didn’t know at the time but this was Houseman’s escape route from the murders.
It was a solemn drive back, trying to put together the story in my head as it was breaking and it wasn’t long before I received a call from a journalist friend from a big paper, someone who often helps me out with stories and also confirming facts.
He is a blunt talking man and got straight to the point, he said “I think you may know of this victim.”
“William Henry, does the name sound familiar?”
I got my colllegue to stop the car as the news sunk in that this was a old schoolfriend I had known from Secondary.
Will Henry was someone you don’t forget, he was a big character in school and a great footballer.
Neither of us were the best behaved kids and I was kicked out of the school early on, but we both lived locally and had plenty of mutual friends.
He got into his boxing in his late teens and was very talented and trained locally at Narna’s gym in Bartley Green.
This is the same gym the late Jordan Moazami trained at, he was fatally stabbed in Quinton.
I am still in close contact with his brother and family.
I didn’t know Brian in the same way but I knew of him and his family.
I knew they had been close friends from childhood and the bond had grown into being business partners later on.
Brian loved boxing also and trained regularly at the same gym where his father was a coach
They both helped train others.
The estate they grew up on was mourning, flowers were laid outside the Mcintosh home and shock descended on the city as their identities were revealed officially.
Brian was a father and Will was due to become one with his long term partner.
The city was surprised to learn it was two Birmingham men killed brutally in a Dudley industrial estate.
Johnathan Houseman is 33 and a father also, he had 6 businesses that included recycling firm, a chocolate fusion company, precision metal and a skip and grab hire firm.
The police say Will and Brian worked alongside Johnathan in the skip hire business and waste management.
Johnathan’s companies mainly failed and he depended heavily on his parents who were very financially sound.
He accumulated lots of debts and had got himself into a cycle of loaning money to pay off debtors.
His mother spoke openly in court about lending him £175,000 to help him out when he told her he was at risk of being killed for money he owed.
Victim Brian McIntosh also had his own waste removal company and it made good money as the industry grew.
He had also been involved in illegal dumping of waste in industrial estates before.
The court heard “Mak Waste” Limited was fined £18,000 and director Brian McIntosh, of Bartley Green, was found by Wolverhampton Crown Court to have been allowed the breaches to occur and witnessed the site deteriorating, while making empty promises to Environment Officers.
He received a 10 month sentence suspended for 12 months and was ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £1,200 towards the prosecution costs and disqualified from being a director for five years.
There is big money to be made in not disposing of rubbish correctly and is a major problem for councils across the country.
This example was evidence of previous activities relating to business that all three of them were involved in.
The court heard Johnathan owed Brian and Will at least £200,000 but the police believed it was £400,000
The contradicting amounts were never clarified and all we can be sure of is the debt was substantial.
Pressure was being put on Houseman to make bigger payments to clear the debt.
It was said in court Brian had taken Houseman’s Range Rover as collateral.
This was the same Range Rover they came to meet John in on the day of the murders.
On the morning of the murders, Johnathan had arranged to meet Brian and Will in the Albion works industrial estate.
Johnathan had been planning the meet for a while and he believed he was capable of covering his tracks after.
A friend of John was Richard Avery and he was accused of being part of the “planning and preparation” in the murders and Houseman, he denied murder.
When the best friends arrived for the meet at 1pm Houseman got into the range and they reversed into a corner of the industrial estate which was caught on camera.
Within moments of the car parking flashes were seen coming out the car on cctv.
One second later there is another projection from the driver’s side window.
“Moving on three seconds the Range Rover collides with the metal fencing.
It comes to rest and the rear side passenger opens and a person can be seen leaving the car.
“Moving on nine seconds.
The person who got out returns.
Headlights and windscreen wipers are turned off.
“Moving on 15 second, a person gets out the rear passenger door.
“That same figure can be seen running off to the right.”
“Mcintosh was in the driver’s seat.
He was shot four times to the left side of his face and neck.
“Henry was shot twice.
Houseman then got in the car and drove to Merry hill to his friends business.
The friend was Richard Avery who also stood trial for murder also and when questioned by Houseman’s barrister Mr Paul Lewis QC, also said “no, never” when asked if Houseman ever asked him for the gun and ammunition.
Avery said co-accused Houseman had come to his business, H20, on September 30 last year, and he was “not very chatty” and “wasn’t himself”, a judge heard.
Avery’s partner Francesca Scott stood trial for murder but was cleared.
Avery said Houseman told him “nothing at all” about what he claimed to have witnessed – the shooting of Mr Henry and Mr McIntosh, jurors were told.
Jurors heard Avery had returned home at almost 6pm and had taken a video at the scene and what had happened was “plastered” across social media.
But cctv from his business showed otherwise, it shows Houseman arriving and quickly taking his clothes off after the murder
Avery “seemed to take charge” and gestured to Houseman to take his top off.
The court heard Avery fetched a plastic bag, sanitizer and a towel and called Scott to ask her to bring bin liners and pick up a phone and SIM card.
“Avery put two bin liners in a bag and wrapped the bags in cling film,” said Mr Burrows.
“He went to extraordinary lengths to make sure items were securely wrapped and could not be touched by himself or Francesca Scott.”
The prosecution said Richard said he could get a gun and that the price was £100,000 and police read messages that Avery had sent to his girlfriend Francesca Scott.
“He has got to give me and Zak £100,000 – pay it in bits,” said Avery.
“I had him on his knees and begging me.”
They also found Avery’s DNA on the bullets for the gun inside the Range Rover.
This information would suggest the gun was pre loaded before the murders.
But in court his lawyer said, “If the pistol was sold with the magazine pre-loaded, the DNA can only have ended up on cartridges through secondary transfer in the Range Rover.
“Secondary transfer provides low level transfer than touch, the levels in this cannot be lower.
“One of the cartridges has DNA from at least two other people who have nothing to do with this case.”
Regardless of the DNA evidence, I have seen many people get convicted for much less but somehow he was found not guilty of murder.
Shockingly some said he was only convicted of perverting the course of justice.
After changing clothes and using chemicals to cover his tracks Houseman then went as he always did to his parents for help.
He changed clothes again and asked his mother for use of her caravan which was up north.
Houseman then made his way up the m6 to a area called Carnfourth and went to the caravan site and then a scrap metal dealers.
Police were already had him as a suspect within several hours of the murders as the car was registered to him.
Using AMPR they tracked his Range Rover on Hunters street and arrested him and he was returned to the West Midlands.
Now they had the suspect in custody police could begin to searching cctv for evidence of his movements at the time.
He was charged with murder a day later and stood trial in June this year.
On the first day of the trial it was revealed Mr Henry’s partner Denni Ullah, who was four months pregnant at the time of the shootings at the Albion Works, sent a text to Mr Houseman saying: “I swear on everything you will not get away with this, I promise you.”
Asked why she sent the message within minutes of finding out her partner was dead, she said Mr Henry “never had problems with anyone else”.
She told jurors she had known Mr Houseman had owed the victims money relating to their waste company and she had heard her partner telling Mr McIntosh the defendant was “taking the Mickey with the payments”.
Mr McIntosh’s fiancée Tanya Hassan also gave evidence and said Mr Houseman had visited their home in the days before the shootings.
Detective Inspector Wes Martin said, while Mr Henry and Mr McIntosh were growing frustrated with Houseman for not paying what he owed, there was no evidence to suggest they had threatened him over the money or that he was driven to commit murder as there was no other option.
DI Martin said “The level of greed is astounding really that somebody felt it was warranted to murder two people in order to write off debts. There were other avenues open to him.”
Houseman, of no fixed address, but previously of Quarry Park Road, Stourbridge then invented a “ludicrous” tale about how there was a “fourth man” in the Range Rover who actually committed the murders and turned the gun on him, only for it to fail.
This mysterious fourth man was never picked up on any CCTV cameras and detectives said this was because he didn’t exist.
DI Martin said: “We were able to follow the victims (on CCTV) to show we didn’t believe there was anyone else in that vehicle.
Police then watched continuous footage from the point of the shooting to the point the police officers get there which show no persons getting out of that vehicle.
John comes across as somebody who lives a very ostentatious lifestyle, lives well beyond his means and his whole life is a pack of cards.
There was no financial stability, he was robbing Peter to pay Paul and not keeping up.
Johnathan houseman was sentenced to 40 years minimum for the brutal murders.
The judge declined to hand Houseman a rare whole-life term, after he “lured” the men to their deaths, saying:
“I considered you carried out these offences as an act of desperation”, adding: “You saw no other way out of the financial predicament you had got yourself into.”
Mr Henry’s partner, Denni Ullah, said: “On September 30, my life was destroyed – my partner and protector was ripped away from me.”
Mr Henry, who was also a stepfather, was killed when she was four months pregnant with their first child, a girl.
Ms Ullah said: “I had to continue the remaining five months alone, completely broken whilst mourning my dead partner – I gave birth, attended scans and will raise our daughter alone.”
“She has been robbed of an amazing father,” she said, adding: “She will never know him.”
The families that are left to pick up the pieces are often forgotten, the ripple effect murder has is truly underestimated.
Johnathan was intent on trying to be smarter than he was and thought nothing about taking someones life in order to avoid commitments he had made.
In reflection he was probably convicted before he even pulled the trigger, he was tracked from the moment he left his home up until he killed them and was arrested.
Sadly human nature I believe will never stop people getting angry no matter how many camera we have up.
We can not also forget ego which will play a part in believing you can cover up a double murder.
Within 12 hours Police had a case and enough evidence for conviction of the callous businessman.
I always like to try to find the lessons in a story that can maybe help others to make better choices and to recognise when you are on a path of self destruction.
In this case it’s simply Money is not the route to happiness it is only a means to live better.
Debt is a black hole that never ends and is to be avoided at all costs.
Will and Brian died together as best friends who trusted a man who cared for no-one but himself.
Don’t let other peoples lack of morals bring you down with them.
My condolences to the family of William Henry St Martin and Brian McIntosh.
Rest easy lads.