HEARTFELT tributes from the family of murdered father-of-three Jordon Banton were heard by Warwick Crown Court on the day his killers were jailed for life.
To loud cheers from the public gallery, Darrell Akins (28) of Follager Road, Rugby, and Paul Michael Evan Dolan Clarke (35) of Bluebell Close, Rugby, were both unanimously found guilty of last July’s shotgun ‘execution’ and respectively sentenced to a minimum of 30 and 25 years before any chance of parole.
Both men had pleaded not guilty to the killing, described by Judge Richard Griffith-Jones as a ‘demonstration of power’.
Before sentencing, statements from Mr Banton’s family were read to the court.
His mother Lianne Dicey said: “There are no words that can explain what the death of Jordon has done to me or to the family. The hurt I feel cannot be measured.
“Since the loss of Jordon I have felt so many emotions, shock, anger and great sadness.
“I miss him more than anything. I have got a big void in my life without Jordon. That void can’t be filled.”
His father Clinton Banton said: “He has been and was up to his death a son who I saw almost every day. I adored Jordon and would class him as my soulmate.
“Jordon’s death has left me feeling like an empty shell. Jordon’s death has ruined my life and those of many around him.”
And Jordon’s partner and the mother of his children Sarah Nicholson said: “He made our lives complete and totally happy.
“What happened has destroyed me. My two oldest children are having help at school to help them deal with the loss of their father.
“I am a broken women. Although Jordon has been depicted to be a certain way, that’s not the real Jordon. He was a family man.”
23-year-old Mr Banton was shot as he sat in his car in Newton Road on the morning of July 25.
Two shots were fired at him in front of passing motorists, and a third after his car swerved across the road into a ditch.
Akins, who is believed to have fired the shots, shouted abuse and threw a water jug when he was pronounced guilty, before continuing to protest his innocence and snapping at the jury: “Don’t look at me.”
Judge Griffith-Jones told Akins: “You did not kill him because he owed you money, you killed him to demonstrate your power.”
To both defendants, he added: “The fact that there was an intention to kill is evidenced not only by the presence of the gun, the number of shots fired and the proximity of the deceased when the shots were fired, but by the leaving of him dying in a ditch. The leaving of a human being in that condition is despicable.
“Akins, this was no less than an execution by shooting.”
After the jury returned its verdicts, prosecutor Andrew Smith QC said Akins had convictions going back to 2003 for offences including affray and assault, and in 2008 had been jailed for possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply.
Clarke – who is believed to have acted as getaway driver and who the judge described as a follower rather than a leader – also had convictions for affray, assault and burglary.
The judge praised the police for their use of ‘modern technology and good old-fashioned police work’, and as officers left the court they were applauded by Mr Banton’s friends and family.
Darrell Akins (left) and Paul Clarke (right) were given life sentences for the murder of Jordon Banton.