Two men were today handed jail sentences totalling 36 years after being found guilty of the murder of a man found stabbed to death outside a property in Worcester.
Rafael Marks, aged 20, of Nooklands Croft, Birmingham, who also goes under the name Rikko, and Micah Golding, aged 21, of Broughton Road, Birmingham, both denied murdering 39-year-old Adrian Locke but were convicted after a 11-day trial at Worcester Crown Court.
Both were given life terms along with recommendations from Judge Robert Juckes QC that Golding should serve a minimum of 20 years and Marks 16 years.
Both had, however, pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply class A drugs, heroin and crack cocaine, in Worcester between 1 December 2012 and 3 January 2013. Golding and Marks were respectively given four and four-and-a-half-year concurrent sentences for that offence.
The court heard that the pair had been supplying drugs from a flat in Teme Road, Tolladine. Mr Locke, who lived at Wych Road, Droitwich, went to the flat on the evening of January 2 this year looking for drugs but when he was turned away an argument ensued.
Moments later Golding, who was aware of Marks’ imminent return to the building, left the flat armed with a knife and Mr Locke was confronted by both men.
A short time later Mr Locke was found on the ground outside the property with several stab wounds, including one which had penetrated his heart. He was confirmed dead at the scene by a doctor.
Detective Inspector Stuart Murphy of Worcester CID said that the knife used in the murder was recovered at the scene and both Golding and Marks’ DNA was found on it.
He said the pair ran a highly organised drugs operation from Teme Road, catching a train in from Birmingham every morning and then returning after they had finished their dealing.
Although they were only known by their nicknames, ‘P and D’, detectives were able to trace them from witness accounts, their own intelligence and subsequent police enquiries.
After sentencing Det Insp Murphy said: “This case illustrates the misery and harm that drugs can cause in communities, and Golding and Marks were central to that in Worcester.
“The fact that this murder took place ‘in public’ has had a big impact on the neighbourhood where Mr Locke was very well known. He did not deserve to lose his life in such a brutal fashion and the manner of his death shocked a lot of people who came forward to give evidence.
“Some of the witnesses’ circumstances meant that they were brave in coming forward to support our investigation and we are very grateful for that.
“This has been a complex case, which at the outset involved more than 40 officers and staff from West Mercia. We are very grateful for the contribution made by the Crown Prosecution Service and also West Midlands Police who assisted with arresting Golding and Marks and securing scenes in the Birmingham area.
“Both these men fully deserve to be behind bars and the seriousness of their crimes is reflected by the lengthy sentences handed down by the court today. We hope that it reassures the community and provides some peace of mind to Mr Locke’s family who have been very supportive of the police investigation and have shown great dignity throughout this difficult time.
“While cases like this are thankfully rare the outcome sends out a very clear message that there is no place in society for criminals whose lives revolve around drugs and violence. Those persons who deal in drugs in South Worcestershire and the wider West Mercia area, should be under no illusion that we will do all we can to make those activities as uncomfortable as possible.”
A statement released on behalf of the family by Adrian Locke’s mother Lillian described him as a hardworking and considerate son.
She said he loved children, in particular his 18-year-old son Calum and his nephews and nieces.
“Adie was no angel but he would go out of his way to help anybody and was always ready to have a laugh and joke,” she said. “Adie is sorely missed and will never be forgotten by his family.”
Following sentencing Mrs Locke commented: “As a family we are delighted that justice has been seen to be done today.
“Although no sentence will ever bring Adie back we can take some comfort in the knowledge that the person/persons who did this will be spending a very long time in prison.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who have helped and supported our family through this terrible time in our lives, in particular Sean our police liaison officer, without whose help and support our ordeal would have been much worse than it is.
“We are also grateful to the other West Mercia Police officers who have, through their professional investigation of Adie’s death, helped bring about these sentences today.”