A DRUG dealer and his enforcer have been found guilty of the murders of a mum and her young son over her partner’s debts.
Andrew Milne and Jacob Barnard torched a property in Croxden Way, Eastbourne, with a petrol can and cigarette lighter.
Gina Ingles, 34, and her son Milo Ingles-Bailey, aged just four, were killed inside the house fire, while Ms Ingles’ partner Toby Jarrett escaped via a window with burns all over his body.
Brighton Crown Court heard how drugs kingpin Jacob Barnard wanted to send a message to the drugs world over unpaid debts.
So, along with Andrew Milne, he went to Croxden Way and lit the flames in the early hours of July 10, 2018.
Now after a six-week trial, a jury has found both men guilty of the murder of Ms Ingles and Milo, and the attempted murder of Mr Jarrett.
Both men face life in prison, and the judge Mrs Justice Philippa Whipple will pass sentence on Friday.
As the verdict was read out, Barnard claimed he was being “framed”, but was told to be quiet by the judge.
A third man, John Tabakis, 30, was found guilty of assisting an offender and will be sentenced separately.
Kate Lumsdon QC, prosecuting, told the court Mr Jarrett owed his dealer John Sanders £400, who in turn owed £1,800 to “top man” Barnard who ran the drugs operation from Portugal.
Ms Lumsdon said: “It was a particular drug debt and the general message sent out to the wider drug community – don’t mess with this drug line.”
The prosecution revealed how kingpin Barnard, 31, was found in possession of drugs and weapons where he lived in Portugal and was convicted.
Portuguese police found a “debtors list” which showed how Sanders owed him cash.
Meanwhile, Milne, 42, acted as an “enforcer” for Barnard.
It was claimed that Milne offered former neighbour Wayne Dedman work alongside him as a drug debt collector.
Ms Lumsdon said he was offered work to go into a flat in Eastbourne, force their way in, restrain anyone present and “brand” them, i.e cut the debtor with a knife.
Ms Lumsdon said: “The reason for doing this job was that ‘it was just some ‘junkie’ in Eastbourne who owed his mate in Portugal money’.”
Later Mr Dedman had borrowed a hammer off Milne, who requested it back as it was his “special hammer”, and Mr Dedman said that he would need to wipe his DNA off the weapon as he did not want to be linked to violent crime.
A police raid at Milne’s home found a horde of weapons in a shed he shared with girlfriend which included knives, an extendable baton, a Taser, gloves and a balaclava.
Ms Ingles and Milo died from smoke inhalation as the flames ripped through their home in the early hours of July 10, 2018.
Firefighters found a petrol can and cigarette lighter outside the front entrance, with Milne’s DNA on the petrol can and Barnard’s DNA on the lighter.
The prosecution said a Mercedes linked to Barnard was driven to Eastbourne in the early hours of the morning, and driven away from the town shortly after the fire back toward Hastings.
Tabakis then later drove the vehicle to Portugal to get rid of it.
Barnard, of Eastbourne and of Portugal, was found guilty of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
Milne, of Hastings, was found guilty of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder and one count of possessing a prohibited weapon.