Danny Gough murder accused: 'I made threats to kill but did not carry them out'

Sutton Guardian: Stephen Dougherty denies murder Stephen Dougherty denies murder

The alleged mastermind of a dad-to-be's brutal murder has told a court his threats to kill him were not serious.

Stephen Dougherty, 34, admitted warning Woodside 24-year-old Danny Gough he would pay to have him killed but insisted he never planned to follow through with it.

Mr Gough was murdered by three masked men who broke into his Stockbury Road home as he slept on December 14, 2010, butchering him with a sword and an axe or machete.

Mr Dougherty, of Essex, Sam Monteith, 32, of Brighton Road, Sutton, and Paul West, 29, of Slough, are accused of killing him in revenge for an attack on Mr Monteith the previous month.

The Old Bailey heard Mr Dougherty told Mr Gough he would "spend 20g on putting you all over the place" as the two exchanged goading texts following the earlier attack, in which Mr Gough and two other men broke into Mr Monteith's home, sprayed him with caustic ammonia, and stabbed him.

The attack, in retribution for an earlier assault on Mr Gough's friend Leanne Meredith, is said to have sparked an escalating feud between the two groups that ultimately led to the murder.

During the raid on Mr Monteith's home, then in Friars Court, Wallington, Mr Gough is thought to have stolen Mr Monteith's mobile phone and later texted Mr Dougherty from it.

The pair began exchanging threats, with Mr Doughterty telling Mr Gough, "tell that Leanne she's started something you ain't big enough to handle," and that he had been "paid for".

But Mr Doughterty, who had been in Spain during the exchange, today told the court he did not know who he was texting, or who had attacked his friend, and said his threats had been empty.

He said: "By 'paid for' I meant someone had paid him to do it [attack Monteith.] I was saying that you've been paid for, so enjoy your moment.

"I knew it was something to do with Leanne so I thought it was probably some boyfriend or something. At no point during any of these texts did I have any clue that it was Danny."

"I was never told that Danny had done it. I was just told that Danny was going around with Leanne. It was just rumours."

Asked if he had planned to follow through on his threat to order Mr Gough's murder, Mr Doughterty said: "It was just a threat. There's no way I'd be paying 20 grand for anyone to do anything."

Mr Gough suffered 32 wounds, some 23cm deep, in the attack, which took place in the early hours of the morning in front of his girlfriend Kareena Modashia.

His killers, who remained silent throughout, sprayed ammonia in his face, as well as those of Miss Modashia and her mum.

All three accused deny murder. Mr Monteith is currently not fit to stand try and will face court at a later date.

The trial continues.

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