Stabbed to death outside drug den

Murder victim Damian Taff
Murder victim Damian Taff
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A DAD-of-three was knifed through the heart outside a Sheffield house which had been adapted into a 24-hour drugs den, protected by CCTV and reinforced with steel doors, a court heard.

Sheffield Crown Court was told the rented house where 29-year-old Damian John Taff was killed had been modified into a ‘shop’ for the supply of deadly Class A heroin and crack cocaine.

Bryan Cox QC, prosecuting, said addicts arriving at the house to buy drugs were buzzed into a secure capsule in an outbuilding at the rear of the property on Swanbourne Road, Parson Cross.

They would put their money down a ‘dealer pipe’ and, in return, receive their drugs.

The cubicle was linked to an annexe staffed by dealers, and equipped with a kettle, a microwave - and a bank of CCTV screens so the dealers could see who was coming and going. Mr Cox told jurors: “The premises had been adapted to serve as a secure drug-dealing shop from which heroin and cocaine was sold.

“It was a well-planned and well-managed operation in which a number of people were involved. CCTV had been set up and there was a secure cubicle constructed as part of the security arrangements.”

Crack cocaine addict Mr Taff died after being stabbed in the chest with a lock knife, and slashed with a screwdriver.

Jurors heard the killers were Benjamin Grant and Ryan Wood - who attacked Mr Taff after he mugged another customer at the drugs den, then ‘humiliated’ Grant by punching him in the face.

On the night of the murder in the early hours of September 1 last year, Mr Taff had been to the premises to buy crack. He returned several times for more drugs and, when he ran out of money and jewellery to swap for drugs, he mugged Sajid Mustafa, who had been to the den to buy heroin.

Mr Cox said Grant was summoned to deal with the problem. “He went there, in effect, to police the operation,” he said. “Grant and Ward approached Damian Taff. Damian Taff punched Grant in the face. They pursued him and they stabbed him to death.”

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

Antonio Anderson, 31, of Masters Crescent, Parson Cross, denies conspiring to supply Class A drugs, and 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 by cleaning the murder weapons.

The trial continues.