Ruthless Newport drug boss John Junior Phillips, aka JJ, was jailed for 22 years for orchestrating a shocking killing. IWAN GABE DAVIES looks at his background and how he survived a drive-by shooting five years before he showed his pitiless nature by brutally slaying a customer over an unpaid £500 debt.

A MERCILESS Newport drug dealer used his gang of teenage enforcers to carry out the savage killing of a helpless addict who was lured to a city flat.

In July, John Junior Phillips, aka JJ, was jailed for 22 years for the manslaughter of young father Anthony Winter who was tortured in an “horrific” manner before being stabbed and left to die.

South Wales Argus:

LEADER: Drugs boss and killer John Junior Phillips

His disciples James ‘Flames’ Jones, 19, and the physically imposing hulking 6ft 5in Harvey Huchet, 17, were also convicted over the 31-year-old’s cruel death.

Phillips, aged 28, of Baird Close, Malpas, was no stranger to violence and had survived a drive-by shooting in 2013 during a war between Newport and Cardiff gangs.

South Wales Argus:

SCENE: The crashed Ford Ka outside the Cross Hands pub on the corner of Somerton Road and Chepstow Road

Four defendants were jailed for 12 years each for conspiracy to murder after their trial heard JJ and another victim were lucky to be alive after a gunman opened fire on them.

Phillips and the man were shot at and rammed by a Jeep while travelling in a Ford Ka along Newport’s Chepstow Road.

Their car crashed into the Cross Hands pub and JJ needed surgery to have a double-barrelled shotgun fragment removed from the back of his head.

A jury at Newport Crown Court heard prosecutors say he was the victim of a revenge attack after he and the other man allegedly robbed one of the defendants at gunpoint of drugs and money at his home two days before.

South Wales Argus:

MURDERER: James ‘Flames’ Jones who administered the final blow which killed their victim

The four guilty defendants made "careful attempts" to dispose of evidence and cover their tracks after they sought retribution on September 3, 2013. The shotgun and Jeep were never found.

Police intelligence read out in court during the case revealed Phillips and the other man had links to the criminal underworld.

The pair refused to cooperate with detectives during the investigation into the shooting, the court was told.

South Wales Argus:

(DISCIPLE: Phillips' teenage 'heavy' Harvey Huchet)

The trial judge, Mrs Justice Cox said it was “purely fortuitous” none of the occupants of the Ka were killed or seriously injured.

Five years later, whilst high on crack cocaine, JJ was the ringleader of his own gang who carried out the savage attack on Mr Winter which lasted five agonising hours.

He was convicted in June of manslaughter after a trial and jailed for 22 years by Mrs Justice Jefford at Cardiff Crown Court a month later.

His two acolytes were also convicted for their roles in killing the Cardiff drug addict.

Jones, aged 19, of Bedwas Close, St Mellons, Cardiff, was jailed for life, with a minimum tariff of 20 years before he is eligible for parole, after he admitted murder.

South Wales Argus:

(INVESTIGATION: Gwent Police officers at the scene of the 2013 shooting. Picture: Wales News Service)

Huchet, aged 17, of Chapel Wood, Llanedeyrn, Cardiff, was locked up for 12 years after he was also convicted of manslaughter by a jury.

Phillips’ girlfriend at the time, Lauren Hutchinson, aged 19, of Munnings Drive, Newport, was sentenced to 18 months in custody after she pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

And a 17-year-old girl, who cannot be named, was handed an 18-month youth rehabilitation order and two months tag after she admitted perverting the course of justice.

She had already served the equivalent of 16 months in custody and was cleared of murder.

The judge told Phillips: “You were the ringleader of a vicious and sustained assault on Anthony Winter.

South Wales Argus:

(VICTIM: Liverpool football fan Anthony Winter was described by his family as a “gentle man and father”)

“You were the leader of this gang attack. It led to persistent violence over a period of hours.

“Your approach is to recruit younger men to work for you.”

Prosecutor Christopher Clee QC told the jury during the trial how Mr Winter was tortured at a Newport flat before he was later fatally stabbed in woodland in the St Mellons area of Cardiff.

He was enticed to Hutchinson’s apartment at Munnings Drive in the St Julians area of Newport last November by the gang with the offer of drugs and a party before the three defendants turned on him.

The judge told them they had shown "an utter lack of regard for human life and an utter lack of contrition for what you had done".

The jury heard Phillips, Jones, and Huchet were all on top of Mr Winter and then put him in the shower to clean away his blood before continuing the beating.

South Wales Argus:

(PROBE: Police outside the flat in St Julians' Munnings Drive last November where Mr Winter was lured and tortured)

Huchet told the police he saw JJ hit the victim at least 25 times while the girl described pools of blood forming around the living room.

The grisly crime scene was cleaned up to destroy evidence and Phillips was heard to issue the warning: “You know the score boys. Loose lips sink ships.”

He was caught on CCTV going to McDonald’s for breakfast with his girlfriend just hours after the attack.

Prosecutors said Mr Winter owed him around £500 for drugs while Phillips also owed money to someone from Liverpool who was higher up the chain.

During his defence, JJ said his victim was “fine” when he left his girlfriend’s flat.

During his cross-examination he also claimed he funded his class A drug habit on state benefits.

He told the jury he used his £1,200 monthly Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to buy crack cocaine, and admitted that he dealt drugs in Newport.

He accepted that he punched Mr Winter “three or four times”, but denied murdering him.

The jury eventually convicted Phillips of manslaughter, sending him down for 22 years.

Speaking after the court case, Detective Inspector Matt Powell, the senior investigating officer from South Wales Police, emphasised the appalling impact drugs and knife crime has on communities.

He said: “This was a violent, sustained attack on Anthony Winter which started in Newport and fatally concluded in Cardiff.

“Sadly, this case once again highlights the devastating impact that controlled drugs and the criminal use of a knife can have on someone and their family.

“We also acknowledge the trauma suffered by a number of witnesses who stayed with Anthony until the arrival of the emergency services and thank those who assisted the investigation.

“Anthony’s family have been courageous and shown immense dignity since learning the tragic news of Anthony’s murder and throughout the trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

“Nothing will compensate them for their sudden and devastating loss but we hope that the verdicts and sentences will give them some piece of mind that justice has been served.”