A JUDGE has branded knife crime the ‘scourge of modern society’ after a man was found guilty of stabbing a convicted drugs baron to death in Cleckheaton.
Jailing Richard Oldroyd for a minimum of 20 years for the murder of Peter Brocklesby, Mr Justice Foskett QC said: “Others have to know that taking a knife onto the streets is simply not worth it.”
Leeds Crown Court also heard that 20-year-old Oldroyd, of Great Pond Street, Ravensthorpe, had 55 previous convictions, many for violence, and had already appeared before the court 25 times.
The jury took less than eight hours to find him guilty by a unanimous verdict yesterday.
The judge told Oldroyd: “You have deliberately gone out armed with a lethal knife. You may have had your reasons for doing so, which you accept was unconnected with Peter Brocklesby.
“But it demonstrates that if you thought it was necessary you would have used it.
“You did so by plunging the knife into Peter Brocklesby’s back. The knife went in almost to the hilt on both occasions.”
He said the starting point for sentence was 25 years, but considered Oldroyd’s age and the fact he handed himself in to police as mitigating factors, and said he must serve a minimum of 20.
He added: “You will spend the same period of time as you have already lived, locked up.
“Peter Brocklesby had a far worse record for violence than you did when he met his bloody end. But even he was entitled not to lose his life unlawfully.”
The court had heard that on May 7 this year Oldroyd and group of his friends attended a party in a flat in Brooklyn Drive, when an argument broke out over a stolen mobile phone. Gareth Lightowler, who had taken Mr Brocklesby’s pet dog to the party, was punched to the floor by Oldroyd following the argument. Mr Lightowler left the party, leaving the dog, and went straight to Mr Brocklesby’s flat nearby.
Prosecutor Peter Moulson QC told the court Oldroyd kicked Mr Brocklesby’s dog, making it yelp.
Oldroyd and his group left the party but were confronted by another group, including Mr Lightowler and Mr Brocklesby, who were allegedly carrying weapons.
A fight broke out and Oldroyd’s friend Josiah ‘Josh’ Mayman was attacked by Mr Brocklesby with a large stick.
Defence counsel Malcolm Swift QC said Oldroyd pulled out a kitchen knife from his bag, using it to stop Mr Brocklesby hitting Mr Mayman. However, after stabbing him once in the back, Oldroyd stabbed him again.
Oldroyd’s group left and neighbours tried to resuscitate Mr Brocklesby, but he died from blood loss and a punctured lung.
Just weeks earlier Mr Brocklesby had been released from a 22 year jail term for offences including false imprisonment, conspiracy to rob and a string of violent offences including wounding a suspected police informant with an axe and burning another man with a soldering iron.
After the case Det Chief Insp Simon Bottomley said: “Richard Oldroyd has brought knife crime back into the forefront of the public’s minds.
“The new powers that are available to the courts for sentencing people involved in knife crime however, should also send a clear warning to people who consider committing knife-related crime: that if they are caught, they face serious prison time.”