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21 October 2016, 17:48
A Sandwell teenager has been jailed for life for killing a man and injuring another following a dispute over a stolen television.
Nineteen-year-old Demarco Martin, from Campville Crescent, Stone Cross, was convicted of the murder of Darren Parker, aged 43, and wounding his step-son, Sean Varden, aged 23, on 6 April this year.
Unemployed Martin had stabbed his neighbour Sean Varden in the chest after he went round to his flat to ask whether he had stolen a TV from his wall next door.
As Sean collapsed to the floor with a punctured lung, his step-father, Darren Parker was also attacked and stabbed four times, three times to the chest and once in his face. Two of the chest wounds penetrated Mr Parker’s heart, and the HGV driver collapsed as he walked away and died at the scene.
Martin then fled the scene on a pedal bike, before being arrested by officers later that day.
The court heard that unemployed Sean Varden lived in a ground floor flat next to Martin in Campville Crescent, but frequently spent nights at his girlfriend’s house. On the day of the incident, he returned home around 1.30pm and found that his home had been broken into and his TV had been stolen from his lounge wall.
Sean called his mother and his step-dad, who arrived to help repair a bathroom window which had been forced open. Both then went checking with neighbours to see if they knew anything about the theft.
They knocked on Martin’s flat door, which he answered with two other people. Words were exchanged, and as a result, Sean Varden was stabbed once in the chest causing him to fall to the floor. Darren Parker saw what was happening and went into the flat and was also stabbed four times.
Both injured men walked away, before Mr Parker (pictured below) collapsed to the ground. Despite efforts by emergency services who came to the scene, he was pronounced dead.
Sean was taken to hospital, where he was treated for a collapsed lung.
Martin, who claimed he was acting in self-defence was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 16 and a half years. He was also sentenced to three and a half years for wounding which he will serve concurrently.
Senior investigating officer Warren Hines from Force CID said: "It is clear that Sean Varden and Darren Parker did not go looking for trouble following the burglary. They were not armed and had brought their wives and young children to the address.
"Martin armed himself with a knife and as a result one man lost his life and another man was left seriously injured.
"This was a senseless killing of a man who had everything to live for. Martin claimed he had acted in self-defence which was clearly not the case. Thankfully the jury saw through this."