Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 15:03 UK

Knife attack on women witnesses

Shooting victims Keith Cowell, 52, and his son Matthew, 17
Keith Cowell, his son Matthew and a third man were shot dead

A mother was repeatedly stabbed while hiding from armed men in a bed with her daughter in a Hertfordshire house.

Claire Evans, 23, and three-year-old daughter Courtney hid after hearing a sub-machine gun and screams but were found when the men searched the house.

Keith Cowell, 52, his son Matthew, 17, and Tony Dulieu, 33, from Essex, were killed at the Bishop's Stortford house.

Kevan Thakrar, 21, of Stevenage, and Miran Thakrar, 24, of no fixed address, deny murder at St Albans Crown Court.

Ms Evans said she was found when two men came into the room and she recognised one, "Mike", whom she had seen earlier downstairs.

"Mike was holding a big gun in his hand. He pointed it at me," she told the court.

The other man was holding a knife but said: "I can't do it." The pair swapped weapons and Mike attacked Ms Evans.

She suffered six wounds to her upper back that had penetrated the deep muscle and a wound to her shoulder penetrated down to her bone.

She had a wound to the neck and to her left cheek with another to her right hand that had cut through her tendons, the court heard.

The men, along with Ian Jennings, 32, had been expecting to complete a second drug deal.

Ammunition used up

Jennings managed to escape the slaughter by hiding in the back garden.

His mother Christine Jennings, 54, told the court how she was shot and stabbed after being told to lie on the floor before the shooting started.

The three men were killed and a dog was also shot. She curled up in a ball after being shot in the big toe.

"Then the men went upstairs. I could hear Claire screaming," she told the court.

She said the men came back downstairs and the gunman pointed a gun at her and shot, but it made a different sound to before.

The prosecution said the gunman had run out of bullets so he was then attacked with a knife.

She said: "He was told to finish me off because he did not want any witnesses. I just felt a rain of blows to my back."

Stuart Trimmer, prosecuting, said: "The men died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. These murders were in the nature of a planned execution.

"The attack on the women appears to have been an attempt to ensure there were no witnesses after running out of ammunition."

Three other men and a woman are also on trial for offences linked to the attack.

The trial continues.

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