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Jury out in Tara shotgun murder case

A jury has retired to consider its verdict in the murder trial of four people charged with killing a man gunned down after his son was involved in a lovers tiff. A Brisbane Supreme Court jury retired late yesterday after having been told Western Darling Downs John Frank Hoghes was murdered when he rushed to the aid of his son Matthew when he was threatened as the result of an acrimonious split with his then pregnant girlfriend, Sarah Heathcote. Michael Crothers, 47, Colin Robert Rogers, 48, David Robin Heathcote, 23, and his mother Yvonne Heathcote, 43, have each pleaded not guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to the murder of John Frank Hoghes, 38, and aggravated burglary at Tara, 300kms west of Brisbane, on May 3, 2007. Prosecutor Philip McCarthy said Matthew Hoghes, then aged 19, had just broken up from a lengthy relationship with Sarah Heathcote when the issue was raised about who was the father of her unborn child. He said Sarah, who had returned to live with her mother Yvonne Heathcote in Gatton, and her family called Matthew to make arrangements to collect her personal property from the rented home they had shared at Tara. The jury was told Yvonne Heathcote telephoned Matthew on several occasions and threatened to exact revenge and severely beat him when they arrived to collect the property, which he left at the fence line of the rural property.

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