Two men accused of plotting to rob and murder pop singer Joss Stone may have been motivated by her connections with the royal family, a court hears.
The suspects, Junior Bradshaw and Kevin Liverpool, are accused of plotting to kill the star in June 2011. The pair were arrested near her home in Devon after suspicious neighbours reported them to the police.
Bradshaw and Liverpool, who the court heard had driven from their homes in Liverpool, were found with a samurai sword, knives, a hammer, black bags and gloves, prosecutor Simon Morgan QC told Exeter Crown Court.
It is alleged they were part of a gang – the other members of which have not been traced.
Mr Morgan said the suspects may have been motivated by money, but also said a series of handwritten notes found in the suspects’ car indicated that the pair disapproved of Stone being invited to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011.
He said: “Joss Stone associates with members of the royal family. Her concerts have been attended by members of that family and she was invited to the royal wedding at the very end of April that year. Hence, the crown say, she was a target.”
Morgan told the jury one note read: “The Queen – she-devil. But she likes Joss Stone. Invited to Will’s wedding by Queen. Where’s the sense in that?”
The notes also made reference to decapitating the singer, with one reading “Jocelyn RIP” and a further note saying: “Once Jocelyn’s dead… find a river to dump her,” the jury heard.
Ms Stone, real name Jocelyn Stoker, told the court she had never been worried about security at her Devon home, and friends and family had come and gone as they pleased.
“I had an alarm but I did not really turn it on very much,” she said. “I didn’t really have a lock on my door… But I do now.”
She also told the court that she had been at home on the day in question, but only heard of the arrest when police contacted her later that day.
“Apart from someone coming around to say someone is trying to kill me, it was a really nice day,” she told the court. “I’ve lived in Devon for a long time and nobody really shuts their door.”
Bradshaw, 32, and Liverpol, 35, had been on at least one fact-finding mission to then area in the weeks leading up to 13 June 2011, the court heard.
They had also allegedly prepared to find Ms Stone, 25, by watching an episode of of the MTV Cribs series she had featured in, and by printing out Google maps of the area.
However, despite the maps, the pair got lost on the way to the area she lived in, Mr Morgan said. They allegedly asked for directions from a postman, Alex Greening, and showed him a map with hand-written notes and a photograph of the singer. Mr Greening told the men he did not know where she lived.
A search of the pair’s home in St Stephen’s Close, Longsight, Manchester, also recovered a self-cocking crossbow and a BB gun, the court heard,
“This case is about a decision by a group of individuals, of which these defendants are two, to rob and kill Joss Stone,” Mr Morgan said.
“That is not a phrase I have plucked from the air. It is used in documents written by Mr Liverpool during the planning stages of this plot. We don’t know who the others are but that does not matter.
“Your job will be to determine whether you think these two are part of a plot.”
Bradshaw and Liverpool are accused of conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm, and conspiracy to rob. Both men deny all charges.
The trial is expected to last three weeks.