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Two men have been convicted of hatching a plot to rob and kill international pop star Joss Stone in Devon
Junior Bradshaw, 32, and Kevin Liverpool, 35, both of St Stephen's Close, Longsight, Manchester, denied charges of conspiracy to murder, the alternative charges of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and conspiracy to rob.
The jury found them guilty of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to rob after a three-week trial at Exeter Crown Court.
They set off from their home in Manchester with a samurai sword, knives, bags and gloves crammed in their Fiat Punto, bound for Miss Stone's address in mid-Devon. Unfortunately for the hapless pair, their plot was fraught with problems. They were spoken to by police having been involved in a crash on the journey to the West Country from Manchester.
Bradshaw and Liverpool also asked a postman for directions to Miss Stone's home in Ashill using a picture of the pop star in an attempt to track her down. The duo had previously gained evidence about one of Miss Stone's former homes, near Cullompton, after studying a video documentary she made for MTV's Cribs series and printed Google street maps to find her new address a short distance away.
Notes found in the defendants' possession showed they intended to decapitate the pop star before planning to dump her body in a river, the prosecution told jurors. Bradshaw and Liverpool were arrested on the morning of June 13, 2011 a few miles from Miss Stone's home when concerned local residents - spotting their crash-damaged car - called police.
Both men - who are long-standing friends and call each other "cousins'' even though they are not related - told police they were lost and were trying to get to Bristol. Bradshaw also told officers they had been stopped a few miles away and the vehicle had been checked before being given the all-clear to carry on their journey. But it turned out the pair had actually been stopped at the M5 Michaelwood services in Gloucestershire at 5am that day.
They had been involved in a collision with metal railings and a digger, leaving the Punto badly damaged. Officers from Gloucestershire Police thought the vehicle was too badly damaged to be driven and left. Their decision allowed Bradshaw and Liverpool to continue their trip south.
They became lost around seven miles from Miss Stone's home and they showed local postman Alex Greening a map with handwritten notes on it, as well as a picture of the 25-year-old soul singer.
Bradshaw and Liverpool were quizzed on Cullompton High Street after residents called police. The suspicious uniformed Pcs discovered Bradshaw did not have a driving licence and arrested him. They searched the Punto and found a stash of weapons, including a black-handled samurai sword, three knives, a section of garden hosepipe, two #1 hammers, black gloves and balaclavas and a further holdall containing a metal spike, black bags and black tape. There were also print outs of AA routefinder maps from Manchester to Devon.