Philip Woodcock murder: Sheffield driver Ronald Sekanjako jailed for life for killing Rotherham FedEx boss
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A Sheffield delivery driver has been jailed for life for the murder of a manager after hearing he was being suspended from his job.
Sheffield Crown Court was told 49-year-old Ronald Sekanjako flew into a rage after being told he was under investigation and attacked Rotherham FedEx manager Philip David Woodcock when he came to try and help calm the situation.
Mr Woodcock had been looking forward to retirement, said his devastated family.
Today Sekanjako, of Bellhouse Road, Firth Park, has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 27 years for murder, and a further nine months for assault. The sentences will run concurrently.
Sekanjako had been called to a meeting with one of the warehouse managers on the morning of November 2, 2022, following concerns he had been filling up his work van with fuel at a local petrol station without having the means to pay.
Sekanjako objected to these allegations and became irate, at which point Philip came to try and help.
The jury was told that as Philip took Sekanjako into his office to try to speak to him, Sekanjako slammed the door closed behind him, before stabbing Philip in the chest with a knife he had hidden in a jumper he was carrying. Officers later found a second knife concealed by Sekanjako in the office and a hammer concealed down his sock.
Despite the best efforts of colleagues at the FedEx warehouse on Rother Way in Hellaby, Rotherham, as well as police and ambulance staff, Philip was pronounced deceased at the scene. A post mortem examination later concluded that he died as a result of a stab wound to his heart.
Following a Sheffield Crown Court trial which lasted five days, the jury deliberated for just two-and-a-half hours before finding Sekanjako guilty of murder, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and three counts of possession of an offensive weapon.
After the trial finished on Friday, Philip’s family paid a tribute to him. They said: "After a long and distinguished career, Phil was readying himself for quieter days away from the hustle and bustle of work. He was looking forward to a long and happy retirement, spending days with his wife and wider network of family and friends, doing all the things he'd planned to do.
"On November 2, 2022, all of our lives changed forever through a senseless act, the circumstances of which have haunted us as a family and many others since that day. We are tormented by imagining what our loving husband, dad and brother would have felt during his final moments; trapped, helpless and terrified.
"Our family has been left with a void that it is impossible to fill. He was snatched away from us in the prime of his life, doing what he did most - helping others. As a family, we ask that our privacy remains respected as we seek to continue to come to terms with the immense loss of losing Phil."
Detective Inspector Simon Cartwright, Senior Investigating Officer in the case, said: "I am pleased that Sekanjako has been handed a significant jail term today which will see him spend a large portion of his life behind bars.
"Sekanjako has shown no guilt or emotion throughout the whole of the investigation and trial, and by failing to own up to his actions that November morning, he has made Philip's heartbroken family and friends sit through a trial which saw the details of how he came to tragically lose his life told in detail.
"No one should ever go to work and not come home. Sekanjako took Philip's future and plans for retirement away from him and all who loved him.
"No sentence will bring Philip back but I hope that the conclusion of the court proceedings today provides Philip's family some closure as they try and move forward with their lives."
Det Insp Cartwright added: "Knife Crime continues to take too many lives across the country, and it has to stop. Sadly, this case lies bear the heartbreaking implications of knife crime, and shows how innocent people can lose their lives in a split second as a result of someone's choice to carry and use a knife.
"As a force, we remain intent on tackling knife crime, and we will continue to take robust action against those found to be carrying knives. I would urge anyone who has concerns that someone they know may be carrying a knife to reach out to us - we will support you."