Knifed dad’s drugs anger

Murder victim Damian Taff
Murder victim Damian Taff
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A DAD-OF-THREE knifed to death outside a house specially modified into a drugs den told friends “no-one will stab me” shortly before the blade was plunged through his heart.

Damian Taff, aged 29, was stabbed in the chest by two drug dealers after he confronted them over a deal, Sheffield Crown Court was told.

Mr Taff’s friend Natalie Deakin said shortly before the murder he had asked her boyfriend Jonathan Chapman to return to the den and exchange heroin he’d stolen from another customer for crack cocaine.

But Mr Chapman fled the den in Swanbourne Road, Parson Cross, when he overheard a man inside saying he would stab him.

Miss Deakin said when Jonathan returned empty-handed, Mr Taff became furious.

“He seemed angry someone had threatened to stab Jonathan and that he hadn’t got the drugs,” she said. “He was pretty mad.

“He said he wanted to go back down to get them back. I told him, ‘don’t be stupid’, but he said no-one would stab him.

“I didn’t want him to be stupid and put himself in danger but he wouldn’t listen to me.”

The court heard Mr Taff trained at professional boxer Clinton Woods’ gym as a teenager and had been a fit young man.

But he’d become addicted to heroin and, although he’d managed to kick the habit, he sometimes took crack cocaine.

On the night of the murder Mr Taff returned to the den where he was confronted by alleged dealers Benjamin Grant and Ryan Wood.

It is claimed they set upon him with a knife and a screwdriver - to protect their business and to save face after Mr Taff punched Grant in the face.

Grant, 31, of Follett Road, Shiregreen, and Wood, 29, of Liberty Place, Stannington, both deny murder and conspiring to supply Class A drugs.

Mr Chapman, who suffers from mental health problems, told the jury he recalled hearing a voice saying ‘stab him, stab him’ - but couldn’t be sure if it was real or in his head.

Antonio Anderson, 31, of Masters Crescent, Parson Cross, denies conspiring to supply Class A drugs. Grant’s then-girlfriend Helen Thomas, 27, of Follett Road, Shiregreen, denies perverting the course of justice.

Emily Sanderson, 38, of Swanbourne Road, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply Class A drugs and perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.