A LANDOWNER accused of murdering a man after a long-running land dispute was ‘scared of what he could do’ and kept watch over his land in his car at night, a jury was told.

Scott Dawson, 41, has been appearing at Sheffield Crown Court charged with murdering 48-year-old Gary Dean, whose body was found in a ditch off House Carr Lane, Hood Green, by a passer-by on September 6 last year.

Carol Dawson, Scott’s 71-year-old mother, also denies playing any role in the murder.

In text conversations with his partner from June 5 to 10, 2018, used as evidence by Det Con James Burton this week, Dawson said he was parked in his car looking at the gate of the land he and his mother Carol owned.

Dawson’s partner asked if he had seen anything of the ‘loony’ and that if he was in the area he would be able to see Dawson’s car, to which Dawson, of Allotts Court, Birdwell, replied he ‘will see him first’.

In Text Promo Image

“I wanted to find out who’s causing all this trouble, and obviously ring the police,” he said in a police interview in November.

“I was protecting things because there’s been a lot of things happening in that area.

“There’s been poachers and people roaming around.

“Everybody had problems with Gary Dean.

“Everyone was scared of him because of what he was doing.”

The jury was also told how covert recording equipment had been planted in Carol’s home of Stonewood Grove, Hoyland, which was used to gather evidence of conversations she and her son had had.

While Scott and Carol Dawson were being interviewed by police over the weekend of September 8 and 9, specialist officers gained accessed to Carol’s house and planted the recording equipment, which started recording on the evening of September 9 and continuously recorded everything for a 72-hour period afterwards.

The Dawsons claim that problems with Mr Dean, who was a keen sportsman and was part of local club the Penistone Footpath Runners, began in 2014 but neither party knew each other beforehand.

They say that despite numerous calls to the police over the subsequent years complaining about criminal damage which they allege was caused by Mr Dean, officers failed to take their reports seriously - although Mr Dean was given a restraining order at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court in 2017.

Previously, two letters had been sent to Mr Dean’s wife, Caroline - one to Hunningley Primary School, where she worked as a headteacher, and another to her home address - which alleged he tried to entice children into the woods with sweets, put barbed wire around trees and had on one occassion pulled a woman from a horse she was riding.

While one of the letters was signed Scott Dawson, the jury heard from police evidence in which he denied any knowledge of the letters, and a handwriting expert confirmed both had been written by Carol Dawson.

The same analysis found Carol had also been responsible for graffiti around Mr Dean’s home and car saying ‘paedo’, and on a stile put up by Scott Dawson on his own land, which read ‘stay away’ - Dawson said he had no knowledge of these messages, and had painted over the writing on the stile.

“I put the the stile up to stop motorbikes coming off the Trans Pennine Trail, and to stop cows coming from the neighbouring farm onto our field,” he said in another interview.

“When I saw the writing I thought, what is that? Whose writing is it?

“It was nothing to do with me. If I wrote it, why would I paint over it?”

Prosecutor Peter Moulson QC said these acts showed the ‘lengths Carol was willing to go to get rid of the Deans’.

The trial continues.