Jealous husband, 53, is found guilty of murdering his wife's lover
Jealous husband, 53, is found guilty of murdering his wife’s lover after using her ‘secret phone’ in honey trap to lure him to his death at secluded farmhouse
- Andrew Jones, 53, discovered Michael O’Leary, 55, was having an affair with his wife Rhianon, 51
- He shot him in cold blood before making the father-of-three’s disappearance look like suicide
- He then burnt his remains in a rusty oil drum and held a funeral service for his friend of 25 years
- Jones denied murder but was convicted by 11-to-1 majority and will be sentenced on future date
A jealous husband faces life in prison after being found guilty today of luring his wife’s lover to a secluded farmhouse to shoot him dead in cold blood.
Farmer Andrew Jones, 52, set a trap for Michael O’Leary, 55, in Carmarthenshire using a ‘secret’ mobile phone belonging to his cheating wife Rhianon, 51, and pretending to be her.
Mr O’Leary thought he was about to meet up with his lover at Cyncoed Farm in January but came face-to-face with her husband brandishing a .22 Colt rifle.
Jones shot him in the face and used a digger to move his body before burning it on a funeral pyre of wooden pallets.
Andrew Jones (left), 53, discovered Michael O’Leary, 55, was having an affair with his wife Rhianon (right), 51
Jones made the disappearance of Michael O’Leary (pictured), 55, look like suicide and then burnt his remains in an oil drum
The .22 Colt rifle used in the shooting of O’Leary. Jones shot him in the face and used a digger to move his body
William Hughes, prosecuting, said: ‘The destruction of Michael O’Leary’s body was an attempt to hinder the police investigation. The murder was carefully planned and undertaken by Jones after he found messages on his wife’s iPad.’
Jones and his love rival Mr O’Leary were friends for 25 years before the affair started in the farming village of Nantgaredig, Carmarthenshire.
When Jones discovered what was going on and confronted the mother of his three children, she told him the affair was over because Mr O’Leary would not leave his wife.
But it continued and the pair used secret phones to arrange meetings in their local gym and in country lanes and laybys.
Jones and his daughter Cari ‘monitored’ Rhianon’s movements and phone calls after discovering she was cheating in September 2019.
Police found ‘intimate and graphic messages’ which were shown to the jury during the three-week murder trial at Swansea Crown Court.
A mountain bike which Jones rode back to the farm after leaving Mr O’Leary’s car at a riverside car park
The Audi boot where Mr O’Leary’s body was transported from the farm to his home in Carmarthenshire
A barrel in Carmarthenshire where part of Mr O’Leary’s intestine was recovered during the police investigation
Mr Hughes said: ‘The messages show the pitfalls of carrying on a clandestine relationship.’
Jones used the secret phone to send a message to father-of-three Mr O’Leary which led to his murder on January 27.
It told him to go to Cyncoed Farm, where he was expecting to meet Rhianon Jones for a ‘cwtch’ – Welsh for cuddle.
A major police search was launched when ex-rugby player Mr O’Leary failed to return home to his family in Nantgaredig that night.
Mr Hughes said: ‘Michael O’Leary’s body has never been recovered but on March 14 a piece of human tissue was found at Mr Jones’s address.
‘As part of the extensive forensic inquiries the small intestine tissue was found at the bottom of a rusty oil barrel – its DNA profile matched that of Michael O’Leary. Forensic officers said it gave the appearance of having been burned.’
Jones denied murder claiming the gun – the ‘most scary’ of his collection of eight firearms – went off in a ‘tragic and terrible accident’ during the confrontation with his wife’s lover.
In tears he told the jury: ‘I wanted to scare Mike. When he parked up I shot two or three rounds into the floor. I didn’t want to shoot him dead. He said: ‘All right Jones’. I walked over and put the gun at my hip pointing it in the air.
‘He walked back and tripped backwards. I took the opportunity to kick him in the face so he was semi-conscious. When he came around, he lunged at me – the gun went off. He said ‘Ahh’ and slumped.’
Mr O’Leary thought he was about to meet up with his lover at Cyncoed Farm (above) but came face-to-face with her husband
A picture of a forklift truck at Cyncoed Farm with Mr O’Leary’s blood found on it, which was shown in court during the case
A forklift truck at Cyncoed Farm with Mr O’Leary’s blood found on it during the investigation by Dyfed Powys Police
Mr O’Leary’s wife Sian received a text message that evening apparently from her husband saying: ‘I’m so sorry X’ in an attempt to make his disappearance look like suicide.
His silver Nissan Navara was found locked and abandoned near the River Towy in Carmarthen and police divers were called in to search for his body.
But Jones, of Bronwydd, Carmarthen, burned it to destroy any evidence linking him to his love rival’s sudden disappearance.
Jones piled up 24 wooden pallets and used a digger to put Mr O’Leary’s body on top in the early hours of January 29.
He told the jury that he looked for an old order of service care from a funeral before ‘saying a few words’ – then lighting the bonfire which burned for four and a half hours.
Karim Khalil QC, defending, asked the jury whether someone intent on murder would carry it out at his own property which was overlooked by neighbours and had CCTV at the entrance.
He said: ‘He was not planning to kill Mike O’Leary. He was planning to meet Mike O’Leary to talk about Rhiannon and it got horribly out of control.’
Farmer and builder Jones showed no emotion when the jury found him guilty of murder by a majority verdict of 11-1 after 13 hours and 25 minutes of deliberations.
He will be sentenced later this month when Mr O’Leary’s wife and family will give victim personal statements. Judge Justice Jefford said: ‘There is only one sentence I can give and that is life imprisonment.’
A picture of the quarry area where Mr O’Leary’s body was burnt, which was shown in court during the trial of Jones
Jones piled up 24 wooden pallets and used a digger to put Mr O’Leary’s body on top in the early hours of January 29
The quarry area where Mr O’Leary’s body was burnt. Jones lit the bonfire which burned for four and a half hours
Addressing Mr Khalil, Mrs Justice Jefford said: ‘I think Mr Jones is digesting the verdict of the jury.’
Discharging the jury, the judge said: ‘Thank you very much for the time and attention you have paid to this matter.
‘I said to you at the very beginning there are very few more serious matters that can be entrusted to you as a jury than a charge of murder.
‘Also how important you were to the process of criminal justice in a jury trial of this nature and it doesn’t work without you, and it doesn’t work without you paying the extraordinarily careful attention to the evidence that you very obviously have done.
‘Your questions on so many occasions were extremely penetrating and pertinent, and demonstrated very clearly the attention you had been paying to the evidence and the time taken to consider your verdict does the same.
‘I am very grateful to you for giving up your time so that Mr Jones could receive the fair and proper trial he was entitled to but also the family of Michael O’Leary could see that process being undertaken and justice being done and your verdict being delivered.’
Mrs Justice Jefford went on: ‘You have found Mr Jones guilty of murder. You will probably know that in those circumstances the only sentence that I can pass is one of life imprisonment.
‘However, I have to set what is called the minimum term to be served. What that means is a period of time – the minimum term – that Mr Jones will have to spend in prison before he can even be considered for release on licence.’
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