South Yorkshire robber stabs man in heart

Murder Scene Tadcaster Close,Denaby,Police and Scenes of Crime Officers at work in the area

Murder Scene Tadcaster Close,Denaby,Police and Scenes of Crime Officers at work in the area

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An armed masked robber used a ladder to get into a first-floor flat then stabbed the occupant to death through the heart, a court heard.

James ‘Jock’ King was asleep on his sofa when 31-year-old Damien Noble put a pillow across his face and demanded he hand over his heroin.

Sheffield Crown Court heard there was struggle and Mr King, aged 40, begged for his life but was stabbed in the chest before Noble fled with cash and drugs.

Mr King made his way downstairs into the street and shouted for help before he collapsed and died outside his flat at Tadcaster Close, Denaby Main, near Conisbrough.

Noble, previously of West Street, Mexborough, denies murder but admits the manslaughter of Mr King on November 17 last year.

He claims the death was an accident.

Prosecutor Simon Waley QC said Noble broke into Mr King’s flat through a kitchen window in the early hours by placing a makeshift ladder against the wall outside.

Mr King’s bare-chested body was found at 6.30am – he had died from a single stab wound to the heart which was seven centimetres deep.

Forensics officers found bloody fingerprints on the window ledge and blood stains throughout the flat.

“It suggests that someone was crouched down behind the sofa before assaulting Jock as he lay on the sofa,” said Mr Waley.

The court heard Caroline Race, who lived below, was woken at 4.55am by ‘scuffling and clattering’ from Mr King’s flat.

“She heard a voice saying ‘no, no’ several times in an almost begging, pleading kind of way, then heard footsteps going rapidly downstairs,” Mr Waley said.

The court heard Mr King had been supplying local youths with heroin and was a regular user and heavy drinker.

Among Noble’s possessions was a £20 note stained with Mr King’s blood.

Mr Waley said witnesses saw Noble burning clothes on wasteland at The Crags in Conisbrough and he later washed his trainers at a friend’s house.

In a police interview Noble told detectives he must have accidentally stabbed Jock in the struggle over the drugs.

He said he panicked, threw the knife into the garden and burned his clothes.

The trial continues.