Drugged Brownhills knifeman jailed for 18 years for 'murderous rampage'

Renroy Johnson injured eight people, two of them seriously, staged two robberies, threatened police with a knife and crashed into an ambulance in a stolen car.

The scene after Renroy Johnson crashed head on into an ambulance
The scene after Renroy Johnson crashed head on into an ambulance

A drug-crazed knifeman who left a trail of bloodshed and devastation in his wake during a ‘murderous rampage’ was starting an 18-year jail sentence today.

Renroy Johnson ran amok just yards from his home in Tamar Close, Brownhills, on October 30 2016.

The violence started around 3pm when he attacked a teenager walking down the street, before bursting into McColls newsagent in nearby Shannon Drive, said Mr Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

There the 33-year-old assaulted shop assistant Julie Maskell and Dean Oakes, a customer who came to her aid, before fleeing with around £540 cash.

Johnson, aged 33, has been jailed for 18 years

Johnson – who had taken a cocktail of illicit drugs – returned to the flat block where he lived but went upstairs to break into another flat, attacking both Kevin Leighton, aged 55, and his 28-year-old son Liam.

The defendant forced his way in at knifepoint after Kevin insisted he did not know the whereabouts of 39-year-old David Winfield, a person being sought for no obvious reason by the attacker.

Mr Jackson continued: “Kevin was stabbed several times in the chest by Johnson before he had time to react but managed to jump out of a first floor window, breaking a bone in his back in the fall.”

Escape

The victim’s son Liam, who was in a different room, heard the commotion and found the defendant attacking his father when he went to investigate.

The prosecutor said: “Johnson turned his attention to Liam stabbing him several times in the abdomen and across the head as Liam shouted ‘No Ren, please don’t’.”

One of the Tamar Close blocks of flats at the centre of Johnson's 'murderous rampage.'

Despite dreadful injuries he managed to escape downstairs and out of the flats before collapsing with wounds to his shoulder, scalp and abdomen, the court heard.

Mr Jackson observed: “The father and son remain mystified and frightened by what happened.”

Blood dripping

Next the knifeman raced across the road to another block of flats where he kicked open the door to the home of Collette Cathy.

Mr Jackson continued: “He was holding the kitchen knife, which had blood dripping from it, and shouted ‘I have just killed Kevin and I will kill you if you do not hand over the keys to your car’. One can only imagine the fear and anxiety she felt.”

Meanwhile, both Kevin and Liam Leighton had been found collapsed outside their flat block as police reached the scene.

Johnson stole the keys to Miss Cathy’s Renault Clio and drove off but got no further than nearby Wilkin Road where he crashed head-on into an ambulance responding to the earlier stabbing, which had been re-routed to deal with the badly hurt father and son.

He fled on foot but was cornered by two police officers and made a desperate bid to escape by throwing his knife at the pair, narrowly missing one of them. They had to Taser him twice before he could be arrested. The £540 stolen from the newsagent was stuffed in one of his pockets.

Illicit drugs

Mr Graeme Logan, defending, disclosed: “The trigger for these events was the use of illicit drugs.”

He explained that the mental health of Johnson had been fragile since the death of his father in 2002 and the loss of his sister seven years later.

The lawyer concluded: “The behaviour he exhibited during these events was totally out of character and it came after he had purchased what he thought was cannabis but led to a ‘different’ reaction.

“He can offer no explanation for why he behaved in this fashion and is unable to remember anything which happened with any clarity.”

Johnson pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Liam Leighton, wounding Kevin Leighton with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, assaulting the teenager, Julie Maskell and Dean Oakes, robbing Alex Hemmings of £540, robbing Collette Cathy of car keys and a motor vehicle, dangerous driving in Wilkin Road, affray and possession of a knife.

He was sent to prison by Judge Michael Challinor, who told him: “You conducted a two-hour campaign of violence during which you assaulted eight people, two of them seriously.

“You left behind a scene of devastation, people hurt and confused after what can only be called a murderous rampage.”

At one stage during the legal proceedings, Johnson was due to be detained indefinitely in a secure mental health unit.

However before a bed could be found for him his condition improved and a psychiatrist deemed him fit enough to be sentenced to jail.

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