A builder accused of luring his wife’s lover to a remote farm and shooting him dead wanted to ‘ruin his life’, a murder trial heard today.
Andrew Jones, 53, is accused of shooting dead Michael O’Leary, 55, after luring him into a trap over his affair with his wife, and later ‘destroying’ his body in a series of fires.
According to claims made in court, Jones’ wife Rhianon, 51, boasted to her husband that she enjoyed sex with her secret lover more than with him.
Rhianon’s husband later shot Mr O’Leary by accident in a bitter confrontation over the affair.
Builder Andrew Jones, 52, is accused of killing father-of-three Mike O’Leary (pictured with his wife Sian), 55, with one of his eight guns before ‘destroying’ his body in a series of fires
The farmer and builder told police he took the his gun to his secluded Welsh farm ‘to frighten’ Mr O’Leary over his continuing affair with his wife.
Swansea Crown Court heard that Jones claimed Mr O’Leary ‘became angry’ and the two men fought while he held the rifle ‘by his side’.
He claimed he shot ‘two or three times’ into the ground before the two men scuffled and clashed heads.
Jones said that during the fight at Cyncoed Farm, near Nantgaredig, Carmarthen, he kicked Mr O’Leary in the face causing him a nose bleed.
Prosecutor William Hughes QC said after initially telling police he had not seen Mr O’Leary ahead of his death, Jones changed his story ahead of the trial.
Jones (left), who ran building and farming companies, is alleged to have murdered Mr O’Leary over his affair with his wife Rhianon (right), 51
According to claims made in court, Jones’ wife Rhianon, 51, boasted to her husband that she enjoyed sex with her secret lover more than with him
Mr Hughes said: ‘He says a scuffle broke out and there was a clash of heads.
‘Mike grasped at the rifle and after a short time the rifle went off and the bullet went straight through his chin.
‘He says he does not know who caused the firearm to discharge. If he did cause it, he said, he did so accidentally.’
Jones is accused of shooting Mr O’Leary at the farm with a Colt.22 rifle, which previous court hearings heard was one of eight guns conviscated from the property.
He is accused of dumping Mr O’Leary’s car by a river to stage his disappearance as suicide, before making his getaway on bicycle.
Mr O’Leary’s wife Sian, pictured arriving at court on Monday, allegedly received a text from her husband saying: ‘I’m so sorry X’
‘Mike died instantly and the defendant panicked,’ added Mr Hughes.
‘He says he found a bike and put it in Mike’s car, he accepts sending the text messages to his family.
‘He put on Mike’s trainer’s and walked to the river.’
The court heard that after cycling away from Mr O’Leary’s car, Jones returned to the farm to get rid of the body.
Mr Hughes said: ‘He accepts wrapping the body in plastic sheeting and putting it in the rear of the Audi.
‘It was hidden under rubbish and then burned.’
Mr Hughes dismissed Jones’ version of events saying Mr O’Leary’s death was a ‘carefully planned’ murder.
He said: ‘Mike O’Leary was lured to this location expecting a private meeting with Rhianon Jones. Instead he was met by this defendant who was armed with a powerful rifle which he used to deliberately shoot him dead.
‘Steps were subsequently taken to hide and cover up his crimes – not in panic but a clear and calculated approach.’
He added: ‘This was a carefully planned and well thought-out murder far from an accident.’
Jones did not initially tell police investigating Mr O’Leary’s about their altercation because he allegedly did not want anyone to find out about the affair between Mr O’Leary and his wife.
Jones admitted finding his wife’s secret phone hidden in a wardrobe and used it to message Mr O’Leary pretending to be her to arrange a meeting at the farm
Giving evidence, Detective Constable Ed Cuthbertson said he spoke to the defendant on two occasions after Mr O’Leary had been reported missing.
The father-of-three told the officer he had learned of Mr O’Leary’s disappearance from a mutual friend the day after the alleged murder.
The officer added: ‘He said he didn’t say anything to myself or my colleagues previously because he didn’t want people to know about the affair.’
During a second conversation, Jones admitted finding his wife’s secret phone and messaging Mr O’Leary pretending to be her to arrange a meeting at the farm.
DC Cuthbertson said: ‘Andrew went on to tell me he had emphasised to Mike the damage he had caused his family.
‘Andrew told Mike he was going to tell his wife and he told Mike he had ruined his life, so he was going to ruin his.’
Later, Jones attended a police station and gave detectives a formal statement saying he watched Mr O’Leary drive off from the farm.
Mr Hughes said Jones claimed there was a ‘scuffle’ between the two men which led to Mr O’Leary (pictured) being shot in the head
He added: ‘I spoke with police on the Tuesday on two occasions and I lied to police about this incident at the yard as I didn’t want to reveal the affair between Mike and my wife.
‘I regret this, and I am making this statement now to rectify this. I hope it hasn’t had any effect on Mike’s well-being.’
Jones told police he became ‘upset’ after finding his wife’s secret phone that she used to send intimate messages to Mr O’Leary.
A court heard Jones, who ran building and farming companies, told DC Cuthbertson: ‘I was upset about the sex stuff.
‘He had done stuff with her that we had done and she enjoyed it more with him.’
Jones also said to the officer: ‘Rhianon told me that she had done things together with Mike that they hadn’t done with their partners.’
The 53-year-old said Rhianon had ‘promised’ him that the affair was over in September 2019 – only for him to find her secret phone the following January.
The prosecution said Mr O’Leary (pictured) was lured to Jones’s Cyncoed Farm, near Carmarthen, where the father-of-three expected to see his lover
He said: ‘I was getting her pyjamas when I found the phone on the shelf. It was a white and gold iPhone I had never seen before.
‘I could see messages between her and Mike.
‘There were only two contacts in the phone – both were Mike.
‘One was called Enfys Mason which I knew was a name she used for Mike.
‘I messaged the contect Enfys Mason and asked if he wanted to meet up. I was pretending to be Rhianon.’
Jones said he arranged the meeting at Cyncoed Farm where he confronted Mr O’Leary about the affair.
An extensive search (pictured) was carried out for Michael’s body at the farm and forensics found small intestine tissue at the bottom of a rusty oil barrel
Yesterday the court heard how Jones allegedy used his farm forklift to carry the body.
Mr O’Leary’s body was never discovered but burned remains were found at the bottom of a rusty oil barrel in a yard adjacent to Jones’s farm, a jury was told.
Police also found jeans and trainers at Jones’s house which had traces of Mr O’Leary’s blood.
A search of the farm also found bullets and shell casings as well as blood-stained gravel and traces of blood on the blades of a fork lift truck, the court heard.
Jones, of Bronwydd, Carmarthen denies murder.
The trial at Swansea Crown Court continues.