Three men have been jailed for stabbing a “loving father” to death as he tried to walk away from a sham drug deal in east London.
Lee Baxter, 34, died from blood loss after his femoral artery was cut with a knife as he tried to walk away with £5,000 he had brought with him to buy cannabis.
A close friend put him in a recovery position as he led dying in Pavillion Terrace, Ilford on 9 October 2020 before paramedics could attempt to perform surgery on him.
His attackers Syd Goss, 22, Jermaine Forrester, 25 and Ryan Graham, 27, set upon Mr Baxter as he tried to flee a drug deal in order to take his money.
Goss and Forrester were jailed for 29 years each with Graham jailed for 27 years at the Old Bailey on Friday.
Mr Baxter, who arrived unarmed, had never met any of these men before and didn’t know at least one of them was carrying a knife.
He showed Goss, Forrester and Graham that he was in possession of a large sum of money but as it became clear they were not bringing the drugs he began to walk away.
Forrester then led the attack to rob Mr Baxter.
After Forrester got him in a headlock, Graham joined the assault bringing Mr Baxter to the ground where he was stabbed.
As Forrester and Graham attacked Mr Baxter, Goss focused his attention on the man with him.
He was able to make it unharmed to the car that he and Mr Baxter had driven to the location.
Goss then turned his attention back to Mr Baxter and joined the attack.
Mr Baxter sustained a number of stab wounds with the fatal blow lacerating his femoral artery and vein.
As Mr Baxter led dying, Goss, Forrester and Graham got into a waiting car and made their getaway.
The man with Mr Baxter attempted to save his life by putting him in the recovery position after calling police to the scene.
He died at the scene almost immediately due to significant blood loss.
Mr Baxter was officially pronounced dead at 10.30pm after emergency services tried performing surgery at the scene.
Witness testimony led police to search a flat Goss and Forrester shared, recovering two knives which had been cleaned.
But police also recovered significantly bloodstained clothing from the washing machine.
The blood on these clothes was later matched to Forrester and Goss.
A forensic search of a car used by the three men, which had been captured on CCTV driving away from the murder scene, revealed Mr Baxter’s blood had been deposited at various locations in the rear of the car where Forrester and Graham had been sitting.
DI Adam Callaghan, who led the murder investigation said: “Lee Baxter was not a master criminal, he was not adept at arranging drug deals and nor should the circumstances in the lead-up to his death cast any shadow on the utter senselessness of it.
“Lee was a victim of a terrible crime and he deserves justice. Lee was a loving father who lost his life in the most violent of ways. My thoughts are with his family and friends at what I can only imagine is a very difficult time.
“Goss, Forrester and Graham planned to rob Lee and they were willing to use violence to carry out their plan. They came armed with knives while Lee did not. Lee did not travel to Pavillion Terrace prepared for violence.
“Lee was walking away from the deal when these three men decided to launch their fatal attack.”