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Two men jailed for fatal knife ambush but two others still at large after fleeing UK

Two men have been jailed for their part in an ambush in which a 44-year-old man was fatally stabbed.

Richard Hopley was killed in Birmingham last year.
Richard Hopley was killed in Birmingham last year.

Richard Hopley was stabbed after being ambushed in Underwood Close in Harborne on September 22 last year, after trying to drive away from Nicholas Stallard and Paul Hayles.

The seriously injured 44-year-old managed to travel a short distance before collapsing at the wheel and crashing his car in Metchley Lane.

He had been stabbed in the chest and was confirmed dead shortly afterwards. Police say that they are still hunting two further suspects who fled the UK prior to being identified.

Birmingham Crown Court was told Mr Hopley had been driving around a drug dealer and after arriving at the pre-agreed location he was attacked by a group of robbers.

Following enquiries police identified Stallard, 41, and Hayles, 64 as being among the prime suspects and they were subsequently arrested.

Nicholas Stallard has been sentenced to 13 years for manslaughter.

Stallard, of Metchley Drive, Harborne, and Hayles, of Malins Road, Harborne, were convicted of manslaughter and conspiracy to rob following a trial.

Paul Hayles has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter.

Stallard was sentenced to 13 years and Hayles received a 10-year custodial sentence for manslaughter.

They were also sentenced to six years for conspiracy to rob, which will run concurrently.

Detective Inspector Jim Mahon, from the West Midlands Police homicide unit, said: "Mr Hopley's killers were there waiting for him and despite efforts to drive away his injuries were too severe to survive.

"We were able to quickly identify Stallard and Hayles as being prime suspects in the attack. Four men including Hayles and Stallard were involved in the killing.

"The two outstanding suspects left the UK prior to being identified and we are working hard to bring them to face justice in the UK.

"It remains unclear who carried out the stabbing, and we believe there were four men involved in the ambush.

"All were culpable in causing Mr Hopley's death and we'll continue enquiries to bring others involved to justice."

A spokesperson for the force added: "Our condolences remain with Richard's family who we continue to support with trained officers."

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