The grieving family of a Sheffield addict have said his murder highlights the ‘absolute devastation and destruction’ caused by drugs.
Mohammed Khalil, who was originally from Bradford, had a long-standing drug addiction and had moved to Sheffield as part of his attempts to get away from his problem.
He first moved in with family and then eventually got his own flat, as well as working for Spice Box takeaway on Staniforth Road.
But Sheffield Crown Court heard that after becoming friends with ‘undesirables’ in the Darnall area, he struggled to escape his drugs demons.
At the time of his death, Mr Khalil, aged 42, kept a garden fork by the front door of his flat for protection and would only answer the door to people he knew.
It was someone he trusted, Connor O’Brien, who got him to open his door on the night of October 21 – leading to him being stabbed eight or nine times by Corry Walters. Walters carried out the attack after taking on a ‘debt’ – described by police as a ‘small amount of money’ – that Mr Khalil owed to a local drugs dealer.
Following the convictions of Walters for murder and O’Brien for manslaughter, Mr Khalil’s family said his tragic death highlights the ‘evils’ of drugs and knives. In a statement issued by the family, they said: “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.”
During the trial, forensic pathologist Dr Charles Wilson said traces of heroin and cocaine were found in Mr Khalil’s blood at his post-mortem but had played no part in his death. He said his death had been caused by multiple stab wounds in both of his lungs and in his heart.
The jury was played a tape of the 999 call made by Luke Walker, a friend of Mr Khalil who had been inside the flat when the attack took place, in which Mr Khalil could be heard gasping for breath and gradually losing consciousness before an ambulance arrived.