‘Anyone who goes into a public place armed with a knife and uses it to kill must anticipate commensurate punishment,” a judge said as he jailed a man for life for murdering a Sheffield dad.
Dressed in a grey Nike t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms, Danny Trotter, said nothing as he was taken down to begin a life sentence, with a minimum term of 22 years.
He was found unanimously guilty of the murder of 31-year-old Gavin Singleton on Wednesday, following a two-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court.
Mr Justice Nicklin told him: “I fully recognise the public concern about knife crime. The Court of Appeal has stated, clearly, that murders like that of Gavin Singelton outrage and horrify our community. Anyone who goes into a public place, armed with a knife or other weapon, and who uses it to kill, must anticipate punishment commensurate with that justified outrage and public concern.
Mr Singleton’s mother described the devastating affect his death has had on their entire family.
She said: “Gavin has left a big hole in all our lives and will be missed terribly, every day, but no more so than by his 11-year-old boy who will now grow up not doing what children do best with their fathers, playing games, birthdays and Christmas. This has been taken from him at such a young age.”
Trotter was also found guilty of wounding Mr Singleton’s friend, Scott Fauvel, who was stabbed in the leg during the same incident on September 23 last year. He pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon and supply of a Class A drug prior to the trial.
The court heard how Mr Singleton and his friend, Scott Fauvel, had been enjoying a night out together in the hours prior to the attack.
The pair went to the Rawson Spring pub in Hillsborough so Mr Singleton could buy cocaine from Trotter, who was described as being a ‘low-level dealer’ by Mr Justice Nicklin.
Mr Singleton failed to pay for the drugs, and a heated argument erupted between him and Trotter in the alleyway next to the pub.
Trotter stabbed Mr Fauvel first, before turning his attention to Mr Singleton.
“You delivered four very forceful stabs to Mr Singleton with the knife. One of these blows caused what proved to be a fatal injury,” said Mr Justice Nicklin.
He added: “You contended that you had stabbed Mr Singleton in self-defence. Anyone who watched the CCTV footage could see that you were not acting in self-defence. You pursued an unarmed man and stabbed him.
“When you were cross-examined, you accepted that you had attacked Mr Singleton because you needed to enforce the drugs deal that Mr Singleton had reneged on. It was an act of retribution.”
The court was told how Mr Singleton collapsed around two minutes after the first stab wound and never regained consciousness.
“The prolonged cardiac arrest caused by the stabbing meant Mr Singleton had suffered irretrievable brain damage. Tragically, his family had to make the dreadfully painful decision to withdraw his life support on October 1, 2018. Mr Singleton died, never having regained consciousness on October 6, 2018,” said Mr Justice Nicklin.
Defending, John Elvidge QC, said: “This case provides a strong example of the dangers of carrying a knife, and then getting involved in a dispute and resorting to use of that knife during the course of that dispute, with appalling consequences for very many people.”
In mitigation, Mr Elvidge described Trotter as young man with a ‘difficult background,’ who does not have any previous convictions for violence. “Mr Trotter did not set out to kill,” said Mr Elvidge.
Referring to the knife attack on Mr Fauvel, Mr Elvidge said: “We do make the point of a struggle, we make the point of [the stab wound being inflicted] to the leg, we make the point of a single stab wound.”