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Teen sentenced to life in prison for murdering father in Dudley

A teenager has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Black Country man during a bungled break-in at his home in Netherton.

Damilola Johnson, aged 19 from Sidaway Street, was convicted on 14 December of killing 41-year-old Simon Johnson at his home in Cradley Road following a three-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

He was handed a life sentence at court today (Jan 12) and will spend a minimum of 21 years behind bars.

Damilola Johnson
Jailed - Damilola Johnson

A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of manslaughter during the same trial and sentenced to 10 years detention in a young offenders institute. Upon his eventual release he will be subject to an extended three-year license period as the judge deemed him to be a dangerous offender.

During the trial the court heard that the pair - who had previously befriended father-of-two Mr Johnson - broke into his house to steal cannabis plants in bin bags on August 16 last year.

It was one of several trips to the property overnight and in the early hours that the defendants, together with others, had made to steal drugs.

Murder victim - Simon Johnson
Simon Johnson was stabbed to death in his Netherton home 

The window fitter was stabbed four times by Johnson - no relation - after he woke up and confronted them in the early hours. He was left to die on the landing.

Officers were alerted after a work colleague of Mr Johnson’s found his body when he called to collect him for a job a few hours later.

Jurors were told that the youth hid the fact he had a knife during the burglary, but his lie was uncovered after CCTV showed him leaning over a garden wall of a house nearby shortly after the attack - when police visited the location two knives were recovered.

A kitchen knife had previously been found in the front garden of the victim’s house which was stained with his blood.

Both suspects were arrested by police after their fingerprints were found on bin liners which had been used to place the stolen cannabis underneath Simon Johnson’s body and blood from the victim was found on clothing worn by both offenders.

Detective Inspector Warren Hines from the force’s homicide team, said: "Simon Johnson was a naturally trusting man, too trusting as it turned out - he let people into his home and they took advantage of this trust.

"He was brutally attacked in his own home – a place he had every right to feel safe in – by greedy, violent criminals and not one shred of remorse has been shown by either of the convicted youths.

"I sincerely hope that these sentences will allow Simon’s family and friends to slowly begin to move on after their sad loss."

Three others aged 19 have already been convicted for a number of other offences connected to the murder, including burglary and theft and received suspended prison terms, community and unpaid work requirements. A 15 year-old boy was sentenced to four months for two burglaries.