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Teen to serve at least 21 years after killing father-of-two during bungled cannabis burglary

By John Scott | Netherton | News | Published:

A teenager who murdered a father of two during a bungled burglary was starting at least 21 years behind bars today.

Damilola Johnson, 19, and a 15-year-old, now aged 17, who cannot be named, broke into the home of Simon Johnson - no relation - to steal cannabis from a crop being grown at the three bedroom property in Cradley Road, Netherton.

They were both armed with knives picked up from the kitchen after entering the house which they knew was occupied during the early hours of August 11 2016, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

They had filled several bin bags with leaves cut from the plants but were greedy for more and went into the bedroom where Mr Johnson slept to look for more items to steal.

Stabbed four times

The younger burglar, who had already twice burgled the property for drugs, took credit cards from a wallet after rifling through the man's clothes. He only returned to 'look big' and 'earn respect' from the older youth by leading him to the location.

Then Damilola Johnson accidentally kicked the bed and woke 41-year-old Mr Johnson who lived alone after an amicable split from his wife and children the previous summer.

There was a struggle during which the householder was knifed at least four times by the older burglar with the most serious injuries being to the back and under an arm.

The attackers fled with some of the haul, leaving Mr Johnson to die on the upstairs landing where his body was later found lying on two bin bags filled with stolen leaves. The pair discarded their knives and the stolen credit cards while making their escape.

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Life sentence

Tragedy struck on the last of a series of break ins by teenagers to steal from the crop after the victim unwisely told another youth that cannabis was being grown at the address.

Damilola Johnson, of no fixed address, stood head bowed as he was told he must serve at least 21 years of a life sentence in custody before being considered for parole. He was convicted of murder and burglary after a trial.

The other defendant, who was found guilty of manslaughter by the jury but admitted burglary and theft, was given an extended sentence of ten years detention. He must serve at least two thirds of the term and can only be freed when it is considered safe to do so. He will then be monitored for thee years longer than usual.

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Judge James Burbidge QC told them: "The psychological trauma suffered by the two young daughters of Mr Johnson is almost beyond comprehension. You not only killed Simon Johnson but also wrecked the lives of others."

Mr Johnson's widow - the couple have daughters now aged 18 and 11 with - remained close to him despite living apart. She said: "They adored him. The oldest has nightmares every night in which she sees him graphically killed.

"His younger daughter was on holiday when this happened. Telling her that her beloved Dad had been killed is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. She never wants to go on holiday again. The girls have changed from being optimistic and confident into clinging, fragile and vulnerable people."

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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