The body of Tomasz Waga, from Dagenham in east London, was found on Westville Road in the Penylan area of the city on January 28 2021, having been severely beaten.
Josif Nushi, Mihal Dhana and Hysland Aliaj were found guilty of taking part in Mr Waga’s killing following a trial at Newport Crown Court.
The jury were told Mr Waga was among four men who travelled from London that night to steal from a cannabis factory set up by the organised crime group.
Mr Waga had a previous conviction on his record for carrying out a similar crime.
Upon breaking into the three-storey property – a former GP surgery on Newport Road – they discovered Aliaj, the gang’s “gardener”, was asleep in one of the rooms.
Having heard the burglars, Aliaj alerted other members including Nushi and Dhana, who managed to get to the house within five minutes.
Mr Waga and his associate Carl Davies, who had remained in the house to collect cannabis plants, tried to flee from an upstairs window but were cornered by the three defendants.
The pain of not being there to comfort him in his last moments of life as his older sister has been unimaginable
Mr Davies managed to fight his way out of the property, sustaining some injuries before hiding behind a nearby garden wall.
Given his injuries – there were 28 in total and included severe head trauma, broken ribs and a fractured lower back – it is believed Mr Waga was subjected to a sustained attack including kicks and stamps to his head before being dragged out of the house and into an awaiting Mercedes vehicle.
He was driven a short distance before being pushed out of the car onto the street.
In a statement read to the court, Mr Waga’s sister Patrycja Waga said her brother was “dumped like rubbish”.
Ms Waga said: “The pain of not being there to comfort him in his last moments of life as his older sister has been unimaginable, not to mention the inhumane way in which he was dumped like a bag of rubbish, which will haunt me for the rest of my life, as will seeing his lifeless and battered face during formal identification.
“Tomasz had his entire life ahead of him including a new born son who is now fatherless and unable to, outside of the cemetery grounds, celebrate Father’s Day, among other things, with him.
“He was my only brother and despite the bad choices he made he had a good heart and always meant well.”
She said the events that unfolded “didn’t warrant” her brother being killed.
Nushi, 28, of Ninian Road, Roath, and Dhana, 29, of Colum Road, Cathays, were found guilty of murder and on Tuesday were sentenced to life imprisonment – Nushi with a minimum term of 20 years, and Dhana with a minimum of 16 years in jail.
Aliaj, 31, of no fixed abode, was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was told he would serve two-thirds of the sentence before being released on licence.
High Court judge Sir Barry Cotter said he had taken into account former firefighter Aliaj’s record of bravery and the letter from his wife, but said there was no suggestion he was “vulnerable, naive or trafficked to the country”.
Nushi and Dhana were also found guilty of wounding with intent over Mr Davies, while Aliaj was found guilty of unlawful wounding. Nushi and Aliaj also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce a controlled drug of Class B. On each of these counts they received concurrent sentences.
Two others, Gledis Mehalla, 20, of no fixed abode, and Mario Qato, 27, of Lansdowne Road, London, were acquitted of Mr Waga’s murder due to the jury being directed to return a not guilty verdict because of lack of evidence.
Judge Cotter called the drug ring a “sophisticated large-scale growing operation”.
He said: “Tomasz Waga was 23 years of age. His death leaves grieving parents, a loving sister, a partner and a newborn son who will never know his father.
“The pain and loss of the family will never go away – for them, it is a life sentence.”