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11 July 2018, 07:46
Four men have been convicted over the death of a man who was beaten over the head with his own prosthetic leg before being stabbed to death in a drugs deal that went wrong in Leicestershire.
Amputee 38-year-old Mark Swinhoe went with a friend to Moira Street, Loughborough, where he had arranged to meet someone to buy drugs.
But shortly after arriving, he was attacked and killed by two men who then attacked his friend.
A jury at Leicester Crown Court, found Harry Matthews, 22, of Brush Drive, Loughborough, guilty of Mr Swinhoe’s murder. Matthews was also found guilty of assault. He had previously pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs and possession of a knife.
Jamie Wileman, 24, of Elm Grove, Moira, Swadlincote was found guilty of Mr Swinhoe’s manslaughter but acquitted of murder. He had also previously pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs.
The verdicts in relation to Mr Swinhoe’s death for Mathews and Wileman were majority verdicts.
Paul Anthony Williams, 38, of no fixed address, was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter but was found guilty of supplying Class A drugs.
A fourth man, Christopher Cunningham-Pithouse, 24, of Glebe Road, Queniborough, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to assisting an offender and supplying class A drugs.
All four will be sentenced on Thursday 19 July.
Mr Swinhoe was killed in the early hours of Sunday 14 January in a garage block near Moira Street. The court heard that Mr Swinhoe had no intention to pay for the drugs and was going to rob the defendants.
A post-mortem examination found that whilst a stab wound to his chest had caused his death, he had also been stamped and kicked around the head and witnesses describe him being hit with his own prosthetic leg.
His friend sustained bruising to her body and a cut to her face. Detective Chief Inspector Martin Smalley, who led the investigation, said: “Matthews came armed with a weapon and had no qualms in attacking Mr Swinhoe. This was a vicious attack by any definition.
“While I am pleased with the guilty verdicts nothing will bring Mark back and his family have been left distraught by his loss. All will now face a considerable time in prison and I hope this gives them a chance to reflect on their actions and their devastating consequences.
“Knives can and do kill. It is time that those who carry such weapons realised this.
“We continue to prioritise knife crime and are doing everything we can to dissuade people from thinking it is acceptable to carry them as weapons.
“We work closely with partner agencies to educate people, especially youngsters, on the devastation these incidents leave behind, the cost to them and the lives of others.
“Operations are carried out across the force area and those identified as being involved in knife crime or suspected of carrying weapons in public places are targeted.
“It is high time that people took note of the senseless death toll that is inexorably growing in this country and changed their behaviour.”
Mark Swinhoe's family issued the following statement after four men were convicted for their part in his death.
"To his family and friends Mark will be remembered as a loving and caring man.
"He loved his children dearly and the events of January 14 this year have deprived them of having their father in the future. He will be greatly missed as a dad, son, father, brother, uncle and friend. He had a good heart and a big smile, that with his shiny gold tooth no one could forget.
"Mark loved his drawing and was a good artist and as a youngster had a passion for football.
"The attack on Mark lasted only a few minutes but the lasting effects of his death will stay with his family for a lifetime. Thankfully his memory will be kept alive through his children.
"No sentence will bring Mark back or be sufficient to heal the pain that his murder has caused. There will be a huge gap in our lives that can never be filled.
"The family would like to thank all those who tried to help Mark at the time and those people who supported the family after his death. We acknowledge and thank members of the public who assisted the police to help us to try and get justice for him.
"We would like to thank the investigation team particularly the Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Smalley, and the family liaison officer Detective Constable Helen McLoughlin.
"We wish now to be left to grieve in peace."