High-ranking tax official 'murdered by teenager he met on gay dating website'

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A high-ranking civil servant who advised senior ministers on Government tax policy was murdered at his country cottage by a teenager he met via the gay dating website Grindr, a court heard.

Ben Bamford, 18, is accused of killing 52-year-old Paul Jefferies in a "sustained attack" at his property in Coggins Mill Lane, Mayfield, East Sussex, on February 23.

Openly gay Mr Jefferies, a senior HMRC official who had reportedly advised ex-chancellor George Osborne's Treasury team, had his throat slashed and thumb almost severed.

Lewes Crown Court heard how police alerted by worried colleagues found blood-covered Mr Jefferies lying naked on his kitchen floor with a tea towel over his head.

Prosecutor Jeremy Carter-Manning QC said Bamford had "sought out" Mr Jefferies on the night he was killed after Bamford had built up drugs debts of around £400.

Opening the Crown's case, Mr Carter-Manning said: "Unknown to Mr Jefferies, Benjamin Bamford was desperate for money, say the prosecution.

"He had involvement in drugs and a drug debt at the time of £400 or so, and was being pressurised by a known person who supplied drugs."

Bamford, from Crowborough, denies murder.