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Last Updated: Friday, 1 July, 2005, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Supergrass turned killer
By Chris Summers
BBC News

Two men have been jailed for life for the murder of a family of five, and another for the murder of one of the family members. The ringleader was Kenneth Regan, a former police supergrass who appeared devoid of a moral compass.

Kenneth Regan was described by one of his co-defendants as a "psychopath".

Ken Regan
Regan was a heroin smuggler, a liar, a supergrass...and a killer
Despite his unprepossessing looks Regan, 55, imagined himself as a wealthy playboy and international criminal mastermind.

In 1997, as the money rolled in from his drug smuggling enterprises, he drove around in a Mercedes and showered the object of his affections with expensive gifts including a Cartier watch. He revelled in the nickname "Captain Cash".

The following year he was jailed for his involvement in a heroin smuggling ring and a passport racket.

But he was given credit for his "co-operation with the police" - in other words his supergrass activities - and served only four years in jail.

Regan, who changed his name by deed poll from Avery, helped police with four major operations:

  • Operation Bromley - initially he was a defendant but he turned Queen's evidence and helped secure the conviction of a gang involved in the importation of up to 40 kilos of heroin.

  • Operation Hoy - in which Regan assisted the National Crime Squad. One of the people Regan gave information was his friend Bill Horncy, who later helped him kill and dispose of the Chohan family.

  • Operation Extend - in which Regan gave evidence for the prosecution at the committal stage of a cocaine trial.

  • Operation Parisienne - an ongoing investigation into the partially solved murder of businessman Donald Urquhart, who was gunned down in a street in central London in 1993.

    Van containing the bodies at Ringwood services
    CCTV footage shows the white van, containing the five bodies, at Ringwood, Hampshire

    Richard Horwell, prosecuting, said: "He had once enjoyed the high life as a drug dealer who revelled in the name of Captain Cash and, true to his name, kept large sums of money in the boot of his Mercedes."

    He was released in the summer of 2002, but Regan emerged to find he no longer had the cash to support his luxury lifestyle.

    Regan was reduced to living with his father in a bungalow in Wiltshire and driving around in a second-hand Peugeot 206.

    He was desperate to make big money quick.

    'Devious and violent'

    Michael Gledhill QC, who defended co-defendant Peter Rees, said Regan was a "devious, violent and manipulative liar".

    He told the jury: "Regan is extremely good at lying, he is thoroughly devious.

    Regan's home in Wiltshire
    Regan was living in his father's house, where he is believed to have killed Mr Chohan

    "He is on the evidence of all sorts of witnesses a person who uses others and abuses them."

    Mr Gledhill said Regan had lied on a mortgage application by saying he had been a partner in Mr Chohan's Ciba business for several years, and told friends similar stories.

    Mr Gledhill said: "He was never a partner and never wanted to be. He wanted to own it.

    "One witness said he was not a man you could tell what to do because of his temper. He is an entirely self-centred individual and does nothing for anybody except himself."


    One example of his manipulative skills came several years ago when he owned a plot of land which he wanted to sell to a housebuilder.

    Regan's initial planning application was refused so he invited a group of gypsies onto the site and promised the council he would get rid of them only if they gave him planning permission, which they duly did.

    Search site in Stoodleigh, near Tiverton
    The bodies were buried in Devon and then dug up again
    Mr Horwell said: "Regan and (Bill) Horncy had a unique bond. Even though Regan had grassed him up in 1998 he had come back for more, and there can be no greater loyalty."

    In the Chohan case he thought he would be able to outwit everyone - and especially the police, who he chose to mock.

    On the day after dumping the bodies of the Chohan family in the sea off the Dorset coast Regan arranged a meeting claiming Mr Chohan would attend.

    Undercover detectives monitored the rendezvous point - by a statue of a bronze pig in the centre of Newport, south Wales - but Mr Chohan failed to turn up.

    Police believe the pig statue was deliberately chosen by Regan, who was mocking them.

    But he was not as clever as he thought he was and in the end his lies caught up with him.

    How police tracked down the murderers


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