Man jailed for ‘callous and brutal’ murder of victim

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A man has been jailed after stabbing another man to death with a blunt screwdriver. Melusi Madaweni will serve at least 25 years after killing 26-year-old Billy Pearson in a “callous and brutal act” on the grounds of Chesterfield Parish Church in Derbyshire. The court heard that the defendant “adopted a boxer’s stance to generate as much speed and power” as he could before stabbing Mr Pearson in the head.

The court heard that Mr Pearson was out with friends when they came across Madaweni in the churchyard, with the two sides exchanging words.

The conversation became heated with one of Mr Pearson’s friends accused Madaweni of selling them fake drugs and an altercation broke out in which the defendant was kicked.

He left the scene and returned to his home in Chester Street, Chesterfield, arming himself with two screwdrivers and taking with him a balaclava and fingerless gloves, returning to the town centre to search for Mr Pearson.

After finding him, Madaweni stabbed him in the head, penetrating his brain.

Mr Pearson was put on life support but it was switched off six days later.

Police stopped Madaweni minutes after the attack after he was seen running near the church, telling police that Mr Pearson tried to attack him and that he had taken a screwdriver from him.

Following a two-week trial, the jury unanimously rejected Madaweni’s account.

In a statement from Mr Pearson’s mother, she said it still “does not seem real”.

Mr Pearson leaves behind a three-year-old daughter.

His mother added: “She knows he is gone and not coming back but she can’t seem to process it.

“She told me not to worry as Daddy is on the moon, looking over us, and it breaks my heart.

“She will never get to know and grow up with him.”

Madaweni refused to attend the sentencing at Derby Crown Court on Monday with Judge Robert Egbuna saying he refused to attend out of “some form of protest” but said that the defendant “seemed happy” for the hearing to proceed in his absence.

He branded the killing a death “borne out of anger” and a “desire for revenge”.

Judge Egbuna added: “It was a senseless killing. You have caused untold misery due to your rage.”

Kevin Hegarty KC, mitigating, said that Madaweni moved to the UK from his birthplace of Harare, Zimbabwe, aged 17 and after having some success as a boxer, later became involved in drug-taking, before moving to Chesterfield to distance himself from criminality.

He told the court that the defendant believe “there were people out to get him”.

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