THIS is the face of brutal killer Benjamin Grant - today facing life behind bars after being convicted of knifing a dad-of-three through the heart outside a Sheffield drugs den.
Drug dealer and crack cocaine addict Grant - whose nickname Mad B is tattooed on his left shoulder - has 63 previous convictions, including one for stabbing another man, and seven for possessing knives in public.
SEE TODAY’S STAR FOR THREE PAGES OF BACKGROUND INCLUDING ‘I’VE LOST THE LOVE OF MY LIFE’, TRAGIC LIFE OF VICTIM ‘TAFF’ AND ‘PROPERTY WAS CONVERTED TO DRUGS HAVEN’.
The thug was found guilty by jurors at Sheffield Crown Court of murdering 29-year-old Damian Taff, who he stabbed with a lock-knife outside a 24-hour drugs ‘shop’ on Swanbourne Road, Parson Cross, in the early hours of September 1, last year.
As Damian lay dying in an ambulance, he told a police officer it was Grant who had attacked him.
Grant, aged 31, and co-defendants Ryan Wood, 29, Emily Sanderson, 38, and Antonio Anderson, 31, dealt drugs from a specially-adapted cubicle protected by guard dogs, reinforced steel doors and CCTV.
Grant chased Damian, from Margate Drive, Grimesthorpe, Sheffield, and stabbed him to death in revenge, after he was ‘humiliated’ by Damian mugging a customer for drugs and punching Grant in the face when confronted.
Wood, of Liberty Place, Stannington, who was accused of attacking Damian with a screwdriver, was cleared of murder and manslaughter but admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Grant’s girlfriend and mother of his eight-week-old baby girl, Helen Thomas, 28, who lived with Grant on Follet Road, Shiregreen, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by providing a false alibi for her lover.
The jury, which deliberated for 14 hours, also found Anderson of Masters Crescent, Parson Cross, guilty of conspiring to supply Class A drugs. He had admitted perverting the course of justice by concealing the murder weapons.
Emily Sanderson, of Swanbourne Road, admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and perverting the course of justice by cleaning the weapons.
Police stood guard in the public gallery at court as the verdicts were delivered following a five week trial.
Damian’s partner Lyndsay Mitchell, who attended court every day, wept with relief as Grant was found guilty.
The mum-of-two told The Star afterwards: “This is never going to bring Damian back but at least justice has been done. I just feel relieved it’s all over and the jury has seen through the lies. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
“They tried to blacken Damian’s character throughout - even saying he stabbed himself at one point.
“Grant is going to be in prison for a long time, and now his kids won’t have a dad - just like mine.”
Afterwards Detective Superintendent Lisa Ray, who led the investigation, said: “If we can take anything positive from Damian’s death, it is the fact this drugs den has been closed down with those responsible behind bars.
“Drugs cause misery to so many people and those that suffer from crime as a direct result of people trying to fund their habit.
“I am pleased for the family, in particular Lyndsay, who despite many upsets during the trial has acted with the utmost dignity throughout.
“Residents now say the Swanbourne Road area has dramatically improved since the closure of this drugs den but it is a real shame Damian lost his life to this end.”
Praising the public, she added: “The assistance of the local community was overwhelming, in particular the vulnerable witnesses who gave evidence in court. Their support of the police investigation has contributed to a successful outcome.” All five will be sentenced next month.