Warning over 'countless lives ruined for nothing' in Midlands as judge says 'take heed'

A stock photo of someone carrying a knife, posed by a model
-Credit: (Image: A stock photo of someone carrying a knife, posed by a model)

Warnings have been issued to thugs who arm themselves with 'lethal' blades in the Midlands. Judge Michael Chambers KC branded it a 'tragedy' that a number of victims had died as a result of knife crime in the region.

His comments came as two men were this week jailed for more than 50 years for killing 16-year-old Terrell Marshall-Williams. The judge warned would-be criminals who decided to carry blades to take note as they too could end up behind bars for murder.

In a statement read to the court, Terrell's mum Leigha Marshall said 'countless lives have been ruined for nothing'. Judge Chambers agreed and said: "It is a tragedy that this is yet another case in Wolverhampton where the carrying of vicious machete knives has such a result.

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"I hope that those who think about doing so take heed." The court heard how Terrell was in a flat in Warnford Walk, Merry Hill, on September 18 last year.

He was ambushed by 'instigator' Mpho Obi and his 'willing lieutenant' Omari Lauder, who fatally wounded him with a 'Zombie-style' blade within minutes of entering the flat. The flat - described as a 'crack den' - had been cuckooed, which is a term used when drug dealers occupy a vulnerable person's home as their drug-dealing base.

Mpho Obi and Omari Lauder have been convicted of murder
Mpho Obi and Omari Lauder have been convicted of murder -Credit:WMP

The killing was over a 'dispute' involving drugs, the judge said. Obi was 'heavily involved in the supply of drugs' in Wolverhampton, while Terrell also had links to a drugs gang in the area.

Judge Chambers said: "This was a murder that was planned and pre-meditated. I'm satisfied so as to be sure that the reason for the murder was related to the supply of drugs and a dispute and retribution associated with that.

The blade was hidden in a coat as both Obi and Lauder entered the flat, 'intent' on killing their victim. Detective Inspector Dan Jarratt, who led West Midlands Police's investigation, also spoke of the 'deadly consequences' of carrying knives.

He said: "No sentence will bring Terrell back, but we welcome the sentences and hope it goes some way towards helping his heartbroken family come to terms with what has happened and allow them to begin to rebuild their lives. They conducted themselves impeccably and with dignity throughout the trial.

"The investigation team worked tirelessly to secure justice for Terrell and the judge praised the hard work undertaken to gather the evidence to successfully convict these two men of murder. This case is yet another stark reminder of the deadly consequences of carrying knives.

"West Midlands Police is working tirelessly to tackle knife crime and I implore the public to work with us to achieve this." Murderers Obi, 23, and Lauder, 24, were jailed for Terrell's murder on Monday, July 1.

Obi, of Strathfield Walk, Wolverhampton, was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 28 years. Lauder, of Wolverhampton Street, Darlaston, was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 24 years.

The pair denied murder but were convicted by jurors on a majority of 11-1 in May following a three-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court. They were also unanimously convicted of possession of an offensive weapon.

Obi admitted possessing with intent to supply heroin and cannabis ahead of the trial, while Lauder was acquitted of the same charges. Read more on the case here.