High-ranking tax official ‘murdered by teenager he met on Grindr’
A senior tax official who was found dead in February was murdered by an 18-year-old he met on Grindr, a court was told today.
52-year-old Paul Jefferies, a senior HMRC official who had reportedly advised ex-chancellor George Osborne’s Treasury team, was found dead in his country cottage earlier this year.
Ben Bamford is accused of killing Jefferies in a “sustained attack” at his East Sussex home as part of a robbery attempt to pay off a £400 drug debt.
Jefferies, who is openly gay, first made contact with Bamford on Grindr in early summer 2014, and they met a number of times either at Jefferies’ home or car.
By February 2016, Bamford had built up debts. “He had involvement in drugs and a drug debt at the time of £400 or so, and was being pressurised by a known person who supplied drugs,” the prosecution told the court.
They read out a text exchange to jurors in which Bamford asked Jefferies for money, who replied: “Oh OK, it’s just that introducing money changes the whole dynamic but we can talk about it when we meet.”
The prosecution argued that on the night of Jefferies’ death, Bamford met up with him in the hopes of getting the money needed to pay his debts.
His phone connected to Jefferies’ internet router for several hours that night, during which time the civil servant was killed.
It’s believed that Bamford then stole Jefferies’ car and fled the scene, but he denies the murder charge.
Police alerted by concerned co-workers eventually found Jefferies’ body two days later, with his throat cut and a tea towel over his head.
The trial comes as a verdict is due in a separate case of a man accused of murdering a gay police officer he met through Grindr.
Stefano Brizzi stands accused of murdering Gordon Semple and attempting to dissolve his body in acid.