Teenager given life-sentence for murder of Great Yarmouth man

Warren Ricardo Blake was found guilty of murder. Norfolk Police

Warren Ricardo Blake was found guilty of murder. Norfolk Police - Credit: Archant

A teenager who stabbed a Great Yarmouth father-of-two to death has been sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of murder.

Warren Ricardo Blake, 18, was today found guilty of murdering 33-year-old Andrew McGowan following a four-week trial at Norwich Crown Court and was sentenced to life with a minimum of 17 years before he is eligible for parole. His co-defendant Tevin Birmingham, 22, was found guilty of manslaughter and will be sentenced on September 1.

The court heard how Blake and Birmingham were involved in a heated confrontation with Mr McGowan over drugs which ended with the victim being stabbed five times at a flat in Dickens Court on November 14 last year.

During the investigation detectives established that Mr McGowan went to the flat armed with a hammer with the intention of stealing drugs from Blake and Birmingham. He arrived at about 10.15 pm and the group were involved in a short disturbance, heard by neighbours, which ended with Mr McGowan being stabbed.

Police and paramedics attended and made attempts to resuscitate Mr McGowan but he was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 10.30pm having suffered a fatal wound to the heart.

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Blake and Birmingham had already fled the scene and headed to Norwich before travelling to London where they were eventually traced by officers in Norfolk and arrested on November 24. They were both later charged with murder and supplying a Class A drug.

Blake, of Thorncliffe Road, in South London, denied murder but admitted the drug charge. Birmingham, of William Kett Close, Norwich, also denied murder but was found guilty of manslaughter. He also admitted drug supply.

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Kevin Wood, 45, of Nelson Road Central and Charlene Barber, 34, of Dickens Avenue, both in Yarmouth, were found not-guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Detective Chief Inspector Tracey Little, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team (MIT), who led the enquiry, welcomed the sentence.

She said: 'This case exemplifies drug-related violence at its most serious: a man has lost his life as a result of a situation which needn't have escalated to this level.

'I accept that Mr McGowan had his own criminal motives when he attended the flat that night. However, this does not justify the outcome in any way'. 'Organised, drug-related violence is something we take very seriously and we will continue to work closely colleagues across the region to eradicate it.'

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