Sheffield Crown Court heard on August 3 how drug dealers Jacob Carroll, aged 27, and Jordan Davies, aged 26, were both found guilty by a trial jury of murdering 18-year-old Joevester Takyi-Sarpong.
Mark McCone, prosecuting, said the defendants had chased Joe before he was fatally stabbed on October 31, 2021, and his body was found the following morning near to the derelict former Doncaster County Court building.
Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told the defendants they scared Joe Sarpong away from their drug dealing patch on the Balby housing estate before they trapped him near the old county court building, off Catherine Street, where Carroll stabbed him in his legs.
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He said: “Both of you habitually possessed a knife for use during your drug-dealing operation to ward off others or for enforcement purposes. Each of you knew the other had a knife. It was part and parcel of your operation.”
Judge Richardson added: “Drugs are frequently at the root of other forms of crime and it destroys the lives of many. Every day judges hear that individuals involved in criminal acts did as they did due to addiction.
"It is a blight on part of our society. The human and economic cost is incalculable. Lives are destroyed by such addiction.
"It is a feature of drug dealing that those involved often carry weapons. Knives and weapons are part and parcel of drug dealing and enforcement.
"Consequently, when drug dealing forms an important backdrop to a murder – as in this case – it is a serious aggravating feature.”
Judge Richardson said Carroll and Davies had pursued Joe Sarpong and his friend before Joe had climbed over railings at the old county court building and become trapped.
Carroll climbed over the railings and stabbed Joe Sarpong, according to Judge Richardson, and Davies went around the building to prevent any escape.
A post mortem examination confirmed Joe suffered a stab wound to his right leg severing an artery and a vein, as well as a stab wound to his left leg, and he died from blood loss and haemorrhaging.
Judge Richardson told the defendants: “You ruthlessly and determinedly ensnared him and attacked him with a knife intending some really serious injury be inflicted upon him.
"You just left him there and he bled to death.”
The court heard Davies and Carroll, both of no fixed abode, have previous convictions. Carroll had also pleaded guilty to manslaughter but this was not accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Nicholas Rhodes, defending Carroll, said if anyone had realised Joe was seriously injured help might have been sought and Bryan Cox, defending, argued Davies had played a secondary role.
Judge Richardson said even though the defendants had not intended to kill Joe they had acted together to cause serious harm which amounted to murder.
He sentenced both Carroll and Davies to life imprisonment and they must both serve a minimum of 22 years before they can be considered for release.
Judge Richardson told the defendants: “Those who kill others in the way you did and against the backdrop of carrying knives associated with drug-dealing must expect to be punished with appropriate severity.”