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'Too trusting' Netherton man murdered by teenagers stealing his cannabis plants, court told

By John Scott | Netherton | Crime | Published:

Two teenagers murdered a 41-year-old man who disturbed them as they burgled his home, a jury heard.

Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson was repeatedly stabbed in a brutal attack that started in his bedroom and continued onto the landing of the three bedroom semi in Cradley Road, Netherton, where he lived alone on August 11.

Six days earlier he invited three 18-year-olds he met at a nearby pub to his home and showed a £7,500 crop of cannabis being grown there to one of the group who stole his mobile phone before leaving, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told. They returned with a replacement on August 10.

Mr Simon Denison QC, prosecuting, said: "They spent the evening drinking and smoking. Mr Johnson was a trusting man – too trusting as it turned out. He went to bed after locking the front door and telling them to let themselves out of the front window."

The trio each stole a cannabis plant before going but one of them wanted more and returned with two other friends, one of whom was a 16-year-old youth.

They got in through the unlocked window and stole more cannabis which was taken back to a house in Sidaway Street, Cradley Heath, where 19-year-old Damilola Johnson was living.

He wanted some for himself and went to the house in the early hours of August 11 with the 16-year-old who knew a man was sleeping at the address because he had been there before, it was claimed.

Mr Johnson woke while they were in his house and was stabbed four times with one blow almost severing his aorta, claimed the prosecution.

His body was found hours later lying on a haul of cannabis leaves in a bin bag which allegedly had the fingerprints of the 16-year-old on it. The victim's blood was supposedly on the youth's jacket when he was arrested two days later.

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He has admitted being at the scene but denies any involvement in the murder, said Mr Denison who continued: "He has said that the person who was with him, and the person who killed Mr Johnson, is Damilola Johnson."

Damilola Johnson - not related to the victim - has denied being at the house but was allegedly linked to the crime by forensic evidence, the court heard.

Mr Denison concluded: "He and the 16-year-old broke in together knowing the victim could wake up, took knives from his home and left together. Only they know exactly what happened when Simon Johnson woke up and was killed but all the evidence is that they did things together."

Johnson of no fixed address denies murder and burglary while the 16-year-old, who cannot be named, pleads not guilty to murder but admits burglary.

The trial continues.

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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