Jury acquits Dudley drug dealer, 21, in knife murder trial
A knifeman's claims that he was protecting himself when he stabbed and killed a man in Brierley Hill has been accepted by a jury which cleared him of murder.
Niron Parker-Lee wounded Mansoor Mahmood after the pair came to blows in an alleyway near the town’s High Street, it was heard.
Prosecutors alleged Parker-Lee, 21, of Blewitt Street, Pensnett, murdered the father-of-two when he plunged a blade into the 24-year-old’s chest after a drugs dispute two years ago.
It came just seven months after he was spotted with a ‘hunting-type’ blade following an earlier dispute with his victim.
Judge Philip Parker QC said: “You killed Mr Mahmood with another knife when protecting yourself from an attack by him, and the jury have acquitted you of murder.
“There is no other offence arising out of that matter.”
Jurors acquitted Parker-Lee of the murder charge at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday.
He was instead jailed for three years for a string of other offences, which he admitted before standing trial for murder this year.
It was the second time self-confessed drug dealer Parker-Lee faced a life sentence for Mr Mahmood’s murder, after jurors failed to reach a verdict following the first trial in February.
During the trial, jurors heard Mr Mahmood left his Bague Walk home in Brierley Hill to get something to eat.
As he walked along High Street, he spotted Parker-Lee and crossed the road to confront him. The pair punched each other in an alleyway before fleeing and exchanging further blows outside Chinese takeaway Peony Garden. Mr Mahmood was then fatally stabbed by Parker-Lee, prosecutor Mr Christopher Millington QC told the trial.
The fatal injury saw Mr Mahmood lose up to three litres of blood after he stumbled into Dixi Chicken following the brawl on October 15, 2016.
His widow Aisha Akhtar claimed she told her late husband to arm himself with a screwdriver after becoming concerned for his safety.
It was found by a paramedic who uncovered it in the waistband of the victim’s trousers.
Despite CCTV allegedly linking Parker-Lee to Mr Mahmood’s death, officers took more than 10 months to arrest the defendant. West Midlands Police launched nationwide appeals to help locate Parker-Lee, including on BBC’s Crimewatch where a £6,000 reward was offered.
But he remained at large following the clash with Mr Mahmood until officers tracked him down last August. Parker-Lee had been living in Northfield, Birmingham, with his girlfriend, under a different name, after fleeing Brierley Hill following the stabbing.
Parker-Lee gave evidence during his trial and told jurors he had acted in self-defence when he stabbed Mr Mahmood.
Following the acquittal, the court heard Parker-Lee and Mr Mahmood had clashed months before the fatal incident.
A pair of armed Asian men – whom it is believed included Mr Mahmood – were spotted chasing Parker-Lee as he brandished a ‘hunting-type’ knife in Brierley Hill in March 2016. Parker-Lee threw the ‘nasty’ knife in the front garden of a house as he fled, but it was later recovered by police. Wraps of heroin and crack cocaine, worth about £240, were uncovered when he was arrested, Mr Millington said.
He told interviewing officers he had been attacked and carried the knife ‘for protection’.
The court also heard Parker-Lee assaulted a prison officer while remanded in custody as he awaited his murder trial.
Prison officers decided to intervene when two inmates launched into a ‘violent argument’, but Parker-Lee got involved.
He brandished a make-shift weapon – a tuna tin concealed in a sock – which he had hidden in his waistband, and swung it around. The weapon struck a prison officer at HMP Brinsford several times on the back of his head and neck, causing swelling and redness. Mr Gurdeep Garcha, defending, said Parker-Lee has since apologised to the prison officer.
The defendant did not intend to harm his victim but ‘retaliated’ after being the target of an unprovoked attack at the jail, the barrister claimed.
Sentencing, Judge Parker said: “Any weapon inside a prison is a serious offence. Prison officers are hard pressed to keep order in custody and if prisoners make up weapons, it makes their job hard, and it causes even more upset and problems inside the prison.”
Parker-Lee admitted possession of a bladed article, two counts of possession of a class A drug, failing to surrender at Wolverhampton Crown Court, possession of a weapon in prison and common assault.
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