A Queniborough drug dealer was jailed for 12 years today (Thursday) after being part of a gang connected to the murder of a man in a deal which went wrong.
Christopher Cunningham-Pithouse (24), of Glebe Road, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to assisting an offender and supplying class A drugs.
And he and three others received combined prison sentences of 59 years at Leicester Crown Court following the death of Mark Swinhoe in Loughborough in the early hours of Sunday January 14.
Mr Swinhoe, a 38-year-old amputee, was beaten over the head with his own prosthetic leg before being stabbed to death in the incident in a garage block near Moira Street, where he had gone with a friend to to meet someone to obtain drugs.
Shortly after arriving, he was attacked and killed by two men who then attacked his friend in a vicious and violent encounter.
Harry Matthews (22), of Brush Drive, Loughborough, was jailed for life after he was found guilty of Mr Swinhoe’s murder and assault on his friend. He will serve a minimum of 27 years before being considered for release on life licence.
The sentence also takes into account his guilty plea at an earlier hearing for supplying Class A drugs and possession of a knife.
Jamie Wileman (24), of Elm Grove, Moira, Swadlincote, was jailed for 12 years after he was found guilty of Mr Swinhoe’s manslaughter, but acquitted of murder. The sentence also takes into account his guilty plea for supplying Class A drugs.
The verdicts in relation to Mr Swinhoe’s death for Matthews 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 two counts of supplying Class A drugs. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.
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 while a stab wound to his back 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.
Det Chief Insp 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 convictions nothing will bring Mark back and his family have been left distraught by his loss.
“The four defendants now face more than 59 years in prison between them, I hope this gives them a chance to reflect on their actions and their devastating consequences.”
He added: “Carrying a knife is an open opportunity for people to use it – the simple message is don’t carry a knife – it’s 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.”