Drug-dealer Hassiem Baqir to be sentenced today for the murder of Steve Stannard in Norwich
PUBLISHED: 08:24 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:37 19 May 2017
A man is to be sentenced today for the murder of drug addict Steve Stannard at his Norwich flat.
Hassiem Baqir was convicted by a Norwich Crown Court jury after 15 hours and three minutes of deliberating.
Baqir, who had his hands clasped together in front of his face, burst into tears when the verdict was announced.
At the same time there were gasps of relief from family and friends of Mr Stannard following the verdict.
Also on trial was Veron Antonio, 24, from Surrey, who had denied assisting an offender, supplying class A drugs and failing to supply his mobile phone pin.
He was found not guilty of assisting an offender this afternoon. Yesterday the jury found him guilty of the two other offences.
Mr Stannard, 37, was found with multiple stab wounds when emergency services arrived at his Bowers Avenue flat in Mile Cross, on November 5 last year. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The flat had been used by a London gang, the Pat and Mick Group, for drug dealing,
Baqir, 20, from Thornton Heath, London had denied murder but admitted supplying heroin and crack cocaine.
Baqir will be sentenced tomorrow.
Antonio will be sentenced at a date to be fixed.
The court heard how Baqir had travelled from London to Norwich to deal drugs from the home address of Steve Stannard in Bowers Avenue. Steve was described to the court as a Class A drug user with a chaotic lifestyle who had become involved in facilitating the dealing of drugs from his address.
It was during Baqir’s visit that Steve was murdered.
Two days after Mr Stannard’s body was discovered on November 5, a knife was found in a bin on Gresham Road. Tests revealed blood on the blade belonging to Mr Stannard and a DNA profile for Baqir.
Baqir was charged with the murder of Steve Stannard on Tuesday 15 November 2016.
After the verdicts, Detective Chief Inspector Marie James said: “Whilst we will never know the true events leading up to Steve Stannard’s death, this case demonstrates the dangerous consequences drug-related crime can have.
“Steve’s relationship with drugs made him a vulnerable member of the community who was easily manipulated by those wanting to transport drugs in and out of the county.
“I hope today’s conviction will bring some comfort to Steve’s family and our thoughts are with them at this time.”
Superintendent Dave Marshall said: “It is sad cases such as this which prompted Norfolk Constabulary to launch Operation Gravity in December last year, targeting criminals who are intent on transporting drugs into Norfolk.
“Urban criminal gangs often use violence as a fear tactic to exploit vulnerable young people and force them to carry out their work. As we can see in this case it came with the ultimate cost - someone’s life.
“Norfolk police are continuing to work with partner agencies to identify those who may be vulnerable to this kind of activity and prevent them from becoming involved in the cycle of drug crime. We have so far made 171 arrests and seized thousands of pounds worth of cash and drugs.
“We remain dedicated to disrupting drug activity in Norfolk in order to prevent tragedies like this being repeated.”
A spokesman for Mr Stannard’s family said: “We respect the decision of the court and would like to request privacy at this time to continue to grieve as a family after the sad loss of our much loved Stevie.
“We will try and move on as best we can and hope that our wishes can be respected during this difficult time.”