A drug dealer who stabbed a Sheffield man to death on his doorstep over an unpaid £50 debt in a ‘cowardly and senseless’ murder has been jailed for a minimum of 27 years.
Corry Walters, 22, of Stubbin Lane, Sheffield, was found guilty of murder and Connor O’Brien, 26, of Jubilee Road, Sheffield, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Mohammed Khalil last month following a five-week trial.
Today Walters was jailed for life with a minimum tariff of 27 years and O’Brien was sentenced to 12 years.
The pair went to the home of Mohammed Khalil in Greenland Drive, Darnall, just after 1am on Tuesday October 21 to collect a drug debt.
When Mr Khalil opened the door he was stabbed several times. He was taken to hospital but later died.
A post-mortem examination revealed two of the stab wounds had punctured Mr Khalil’s heart and lungs.
The pair were arrested as part of the investigation and were both charged with murder after Walters’ blood was found on the door of Mr Khalil’s home and a witness recognised O’Brien’s voice.
Walters admitted stabbing Mr Khalil but claimed it was in self-defence. However, the jury did not accept this defence and he was convicted of murder. O’Brien denied murder and was convicted of manslaughter.
Two other people also stood trial for witness intimidation as part of the case.
Walters’ brother Callum , 21, of Valentine Crescent, Sheffield, and Nicole Poppe 22, of Ecclesfield Road, Sheffield followed a witness around Sheffield city centre making threats to him and telling him to withdraw his evidence.
They were both convicted.
Callum Walters was sentenced to three years imprisonment and Poppe received a two-year sentence.
Detective Chief Inspector David Stopford, senior investigation officer, said: “Today marks the conclusion of a lengthy and complex investigation into the brutal and pointless murder of a man in his own home over a small amount of money.
“The sentences handed down today reflect that and Walters and O’Brien will have a considerable amount of time behind bars to reflect on their actions that night.
“The custodial sentences given to Callum Walters and Nicole Poppe illustrate how seriously the courts view their actions when they attempted to intimidate the key witness. This should serve as a warning to anyone who may consider this course of action in the future.
“I hope Mohammed Khalil’s family is now able to try to put this horrific event behind them and start the process of moving forward with their lives.
Mr Khalil’s family issued the following statement following the verdict last month.
It said: “The cowardly and senseless actions that took place on Khalil’s doorstep in the early hours of 21 October will permanently remain with the family.
“Khalil had moved to Sheffield for a new life, yet his life was extinguished and he was denied the chance to settle down, get married, have children.
“What happened, serves to remind all of us about the evils of drugs and knives and the absolute devastation and destruction these evils can cause and indeed have caused.
“We would like to express our thanks to South Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for all of their very hard work, working in very challenging circumstances to bring those responsible to justice.
“We would respect that our wishes for privacy are adhered to.”