A man’s attempt to have his ex-girlfriend killed was thwarted when her dog started howling as another male was about to inject her with a lethal dose of heroin.

Tracey Devonshire was asleep in her flat in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, on January 12, 2022, when she was woken up by Staffordshire Bull Terrier Princess. It was then Ms Devonshire discovered Trefor Jones standing over her.

The court heard 38-year-old Jones had been offered £15,000 by Ms Devonshire’s ex-partner Muktar Lail to kill her because she verbally abused him in the street, says the BBC. Lail, 53, reportedly gave Jones detailed instructions on how to render the victim unconscious should she resist.

A member of Ms Devonshire’s family subsequently raised the alarm after becoming aware of the incident. Lail was then arrested two days later, followed shortly by Jones.

Jones, formerly of Sedgley Close, Southsea, in Hampshire, has now been jailed for eight years after being found guilty of conspiracy to murder. While Lail, formerly of Meadowsweet Way, Stotfold, has been handed a life sentence after appearing at St Alban’s Crown Court.

Lail had previously admitted possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply and possession of criminal property, in relation to a large amount of cash which was seized from his home during the investigation. He will serve an additional five years and eight months on top of his life sentence in relation to these offences.

In a statement to the court, Ms Devonshire said she has now had to leave the place she called home. She said: “I had to leave the place I’d called home all my life. I now do not have any friends as I’m too paranoid they might end up setting me up for you to harm me. I do not go out anymore and, if I must, I do not like to walk anywhere in case someone else comes to hurt me. I just pray that no one else is following me.

“I fear for my family when they come to visit me, in case you have sent someone to try and hurt them. Sometimes I’m so scared it physically hurts and I cry all the time.

“I hope to encourage other females that are too scared to stop this happening to them and I now appreciate every day.”

Both men were barred from contacting the victim. While a third man, Bobby Dhunna, aged 39, formerly of Clarion Close in Offley, was also sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment in connection with the incident, having pleaded guilty to witness intimidation, perverting the course of justice and possession of cannabis during a separate court appearance.

Detective Superintendent Carl Foster, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: “This was a shocking case involving dangerous men targeting a vulnerable victim. Thankfully she was unharmed and the alarm was raised to police who were able to safeguard her.

“I’d like to praise the victim for her strength and bravery throughout; she had doubts about reporting anything to police, as she was sure she would not be believed. I hope this reassures people that we take all reports seriously and will do whatever we possibly can to safeguard victims, collate evidence and bring offenders to justice.

“The sentences passed down reflect the gravity of these offences and I hope it provides a sense of comfort and closure for the victim.”

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