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27 July 2015, 14:23
A drug dealer from the West Midlands who stabbed and bludgeoned to death a business associate to steal his Range Rover has been jailed for at least 25 years.
Stuart Millership hid the body of Baljit Singh - who was stabbed in the neck on his son's ninth birthday - in a basement and then carried on with Christmas celebrations.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that the victim's body lay undiscovered at Millership's home for more than a week and was found by police on New Year's Day.
Millership, 33, carried out the sustained and frenzied killing with a bread knife and an iron bar after texting a friend to say he was a ``horror fan'' and intended to ``kick off'' at Mr Singh.
The killer, of Beeches Road, Rowley Regis, pleaded guilty to murder at a previous hearing.
Despite admitting his guilt, he claimed to have played a limited role as two Albanian men attacked Mr Singh, who was known as Bill, over a drugs debt.
But Judge John Warner, who heard evidence from Millership last week, ruled that the convicted drug-dealer had acted alone in inflicting around 20 blows on the 50-year-old on December 23 last year.
Sentencing Millership to life with a minimum term of 25 years, Judge Warner told him: ``Only you know the detail of what actually happened in that house and what conversation passed between you and Mr Singh.
``I am sure that he was refusing to give you all that you wanted. Your reaction was to completely lose it and to launch a sustained and frenzied attack.''
The judge pointed out that Millership had known his victim was due to collect a cake to celebrate his son's birthday.
Condemning the defendant for concealing Mr Singh's body, Judge Warner added: ``This was a particularly cruel thing to have done in this case.
``If the police had not found the body when they did, I have no doubt it would have remained undiscovered for a much longer period.
``Days that should in future be times of joy - birthdays and Christmas - will for this family be forever associated with a horrific death.''
Mr Singh, from Edgbaston, Birmingham, was reported missing on December 23.
In a victim impact statement read to the court on behalf of his family, including his wife and brothers, his relatives said they had been ``destroyed'' by the murder.
The statement read: ``The soul of our family has been cruelly ripped out. What we are unable to do is comprehend how someone can take someone's life.''
Referring to the day of Mr Singh's death, the family members added: ``What should have been a joyous occasion and family get-together abruptly turned into anguish and worry.
``We knew he would never miss his son's birthday.''
Millership, who used the Range Rover Sport to go Christmas shopping, had known Mr Singh for almost 20 years.
Commenting on the case, Detective Inspector Warren Hines, of West Midlands Police, said: ``Baljit Singh and Millership were known friends and loose business associates who saw each other on a regular basis.
``This was a truly awful crime. Baljit was subjected to a brutal assault by a man he should have had no reason to fear, a man who he had befriended and helped over a number of years.
``I really hope that this verdict will allow Baljit's family to start rebuilding their lives.''