The defendants have each pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud. They are John Murphy, 66, the company’s major shareholder, his daughter and shareholder Laura Murphy, 27, her partner Christopher Lunt, 37, finance director Kevin Batty, 55, mechanic Trevor Jones, 57, shareholder and director Paul Arslanian, 37 and Simon Williams, an MoT tester.
On resumption in the afternoon Mr Richard Pratt QC further addressed the members of the Jury and His Honour, Judge Cummings QC at Chester Crown Court, he said: “each defendant denies playing a part in the alleged conspiracy, if such a conspiracy did happen no defendant has to prove they didn’t conspire.“
“You have to ask yourself did he or she know it was going on, just because a criminal enterprise is going on does not mean they are part of the conspiracy, but knowing it was taking place will help though.”
He then went on to explain each of the defendant’s roles in the prosecutions allegations.
“John Murphy, the leading light of PCS Events and associate companies, he has an 85% control in a hands on way of the company. You would think he had the most to gain.”
“Would anyone else want to do this behind his back?”added Mr Pratt.
“Documents that will be produced in evidence will demonstrate his control. You will see his signature on company documents and as a guarantor.”
“Mr Hart will give evidence that it was John Murphy he dealt with when he found suspect mileage on vehicles he had bought.”
“Mr Hart spoke to John Murphy. He showed John Murphy that his company had sold 2 “clocked cars” if he (John Murphy) did not know about car clocking he knew in December 2010 early 2011″.
“His company was required to take back cars. If he did not know about car clocking then he was innocent. But he knew now. Surely as the majority shareholder he would be questioning how this had happened.”
“Then we have more compromised cars returned from Stockton Heath Car Sales, so twice we have a batch of cars coming back to PCS”.
Mr Pratt told the jury that in 2013 after the Trading Standards raid Mr Murphy was provided, via his solicitor Mr Blackburn, further evidence of clocked cars.
A series of e-mails was sent from Mr Jackson, lead investigator for Trading Standards. They contained information from Fuel card companies, namely BWOC, UK Fuels and Fuel Card Services the jury was told.
“On the 11th November 2013 mileage charts were sent to Mr Murphy’s solicitor with details of specific vehicles that Trading Standards had suspicion about the mileages. Also service records showing mileages going up, then down”.
“What did Mr Murphy do now that he had been given hard information on clocked mileage?”
“He sells some of those vehicles!”
One example was a vehicle that in November 2011 had 77k on the odometer; the next time it was seen it had 17k.
Warning bells should be there, Mr Pratt said.
Mr Pratt then told the jury of the existence of a driver’s defect sheet submitted by a driver named Vickerstaff, it recorded the mileage at 58 thousand miles.
Later it was 41 thousand miles as evidenced by the Mercedes STAR system.
The jury was then told in January 2014 the vehicle was sold by PCS for £11,500 to Lostock Car Centre Northwich. On the 18th January a Mr Thorpe bought the vehicle for £14,000.
An invoice from PCS to Lostock Car Sales had a signed declaration saying the correct mileage was 67,149. Mr Thorpe bought the vehicle with the same mileage reading the court heard.
Mr Pratt added: “The vehicle was sold by Christopher Lunt; we will say with the knowledge of John Murphy.
“This was a PCS vehicle, so you could say he was entitled to sell it, it had not been impounded. But after receiving back “clocked cars” on two occasions he still sells a car on with a declaration that the mileage was correct.
“What does it tell you about his state of mind? Even when told by Trading Standards he carries on selling vehicles!
“His name appears throughout as signatory on company documents, we say he is part of this fraud.”
Paul Arslanian former secretary and now director of PCS and the step- son of John Murphy.
Mr Pratt told the jury: “He, as director has certain legal obligations. He signs important documents and signs as guarantor. He is a 5% shareholder.
“We will see documents relating to contracts for hiring vehicles he is bound to be aware that the mileages agreed would be unrealistic. He knew they would be clocked”.
The jury were then told that Kevin Batty has been employed by PCS since November 2010 as finance manager and played a part in all financial parts of the company.
Mr Pratt said: “He would know about Stockton Car Sales and Trucks 2 Go. He is bound to be aware of such matters, documents found in his office show he knew vehicles were taken back.
“If he was honest he would make sure he would protect the company. There is no evidence he did anything. Is he plausible?”
The jury was told about Christopher Lunt, workshop and fleet manager played an active role in selling cars.
“Lunt made misrepresentations on a number of clocked cars. He sold clocked cars through his eBay account. He was trusted within the company”, added Mr Pratt.
Laura Murphy account manager, authorised signatory on the company bank account.
“She would have some knowledge of clocked cars”, said Mr Pratt.
“One piece of correspondence found in the raid will be produced in evidence” did she have knowledge?
“On the 31/12/2010 a vehicle was sold by John Murphy to Christopher Hart of Trucks 2 Go, C.D.R Trading.
An exchange of letters between Laura Murphy and the DVLA will be shown to the court.
These letters the court was told relate to a Mercedes E class that Ms Murphy tells DVLA was given to a trader to sell on their behalf. But was returned un- sold.
“Due to a different keeper being on the log book she wanted that name removing and put back into the name of PCS Events Ltd”, added Mr Pratt.
Because no reply was forthcoming, Mr Pratt told the jury: “Laura Murphy wrote again to DVLA requesting that PCS Events be reinstalled on the log book as it had been returned unsold by Mr Hart”.
“What really had happened was that Mr Hart had sold the vehicle! The purchaser a Mr Gribbin had made enquiries about the car and found it to be clocked. No wonder people at PCS would want a person removed from the log book who had knowledge of car clocking”, Mr Pratt told the Jury.
“Laura Murphy made a full and willing part in the conspiracy.”
Trevor Jones mechanic and principally concerned with maintenance and would have intimate knowledge of the vehicles and their mileage the court heard.
“He is the authorised user of the companies STAR diagnostics system.”
“Fraud cannot take place without him knowing”, added Mr Pratt.
Simon Williams VOSA approved MOT tester. Provided 40 MoT certificates for PCS between 2011 and 2013 at K Motors Leyland near Preston. He ceased working there in July 2013.
Mr Pratt, told the jury: “The manager of K Motors will say” there is no record of any PCS cars going there, no record of PCS as a customer. Nothing!”
MoT’s had false mileage; we the prosecution will say he agreed to provide those MoT certificates, added Mr Pratt.
The defendants were interviewed in early 2014 and the summer and autumn.
John Murphy had a prepared type written statement.
He acknowledged he was an 85% shareholder. The statement declared that Paul Arslanian and Kevin Batty were the management of the company and Christopher Lunt had responsibility to manage the cars.
“He knew nothing of car clocking and denied he had been involved in the sales to Mr Hart or having spoken to him”, Mr Pratt told the jury.
Paul Arslanian was interviewed on the 19th May 2014.
Mr Pratt: “He had a prepared type written statement. He declared that John Murphy handled all the company affairs and Christopher Lunt sold the cars”.
“Kevin Batty had a prepared type written statement he declared that all financial information was provided by Laura Murphy.
Christopher Lunt and Trevor Jones made no comment to all questions.
Simon Williams interview has already been dealt with.
All the defendants deny the charges. The trial continues.
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