Banbury 'murder': Dark web searches for 'buy a handgun that's legit'

File image of gun barrel and, left, Howard Road where the alleged murder happened Pictures: OM/PIXABAY <i>(Image: Oxford Mail, Pixabay)</i>
File image of gun barrel and, left, Howard Road where the alleged murder happened Pictures: OM/PIXABAY (Image: Oxford Mail, Pixabay)

A murder accused allegedly searched the dark web for how to ‘buy a handgun that’s legit’, a court heard.

Prosecutor Vanessa Marshall KC told jurors at Oxford Crown Court that alleged killer Mark Meadows’ laptop was used to access the ‘dark web’ on January 10 – a month before he is said to have fatally stabbed love rival Keith Green.

Entries in a prosecution ‘sequence of events’ document that was handed to jurors on Wednesday afternoon said the laptop had been used at 10.38pm on January 10 to search for ‘gun for sale’.

Further searches were made for ‘deep web weapons store links’, it was said. Ms Marshall said the ‘sites listed are not normally accessible from a regular browser’.

After 11pm, the computer was said to have been used to search for websites where one could ‘buy a hand gun that’s legit’.

“All of them turned out to be scams and so on,” Ms Marshall told the jury.

The alleged dark web searches were presented at the end of more than a dozen closely-typed pages’ worth of evidence from Facebook messages and texts sent by the five defendants.

They included conversations between Meadows, 25, and his half-brother Travis Gorton, 20, over Christmas 2021 and into the new year. The former asked Gorton: “Any chance could we get that thing I’m after this week?” Meadows added: “Source me one by Friday.” Prosecutors allege this is a reference to a gun.

On January 10, the same day as the alleged ‘dark web’ searches, Meadows was said to have messaged his brother: “Could be a war coming soon.”

Gorton replied: “I’m down.”

“No,” Meadows replied. “Won’t let you be part of the war.”

Meadows, of Rees Court, Banbury, Gorton, 20, of Well Bank, Hook Norton, Mr Green’s former partner Louise Grieve, now 38, and her son Callum Johnson, 20, of Howard Road, Banbury, and a youth who cannot be identified for legal reasons all deny murder. Meadows and Gorton have also pleaded not guilty to possession of a bladed article.

The trial continues.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward