Violent drug dealer stabbed teen to death because he stole his scooter

A violent drug dealer who stabbed a teenager to death because he stole his scooter was today found guilty of murder .

Steven Jones, 24, butchered Brandon Regan, 17, and left him dead in a pool of blood.

The attack was so brutal, Jones broke one of the teenager's ribs.

Brandon was only found when a woman looked out of her kitchen window the following morning, Liverpool Echo says.

And Jones, and his accomplice Lewis Gibbons, 26, who prosecutors said brought a meat cleaver and axe to the scene, were convicted of murder.

A jury returned the unanimous verdicts after four hours and 22 minutes of deliberation, following a 17-day trial.

But their 22-year-old pal Jack Butterworth, who rammed Brandon off the scooter in his Audi A4, was cleared of murder, but found guilty of manslaughter.

Family and friends of Brandon sobbed in the public gallery, with his mum and others leaving the courtroom and one person shouting "rats".

The court heard cocaine and cannabis dealer Jones found Brandon had hotwired his bike on January 28 last year.

Jones, Butterworth, Gibbons, and Ryan Buckley, 33, chased after him in Butterworth's black Audi in Speke, Liverpool.

They said Butterworth collided with the 50cc moped, knocking Brandon off, before Jones and Gibbons got out of the car.

Jones claimed he found a knife on the ground near the bike and acted in self-defence when Brandon "rugby tackled" him in a nearby garden.

But he did not suffer any injuries and a witness had heard him shout from the Audi: "I'm going to f***ing batter you, I'm going to f***ing kill you."

Jones stabbed Brandon in the back, his left elbow, right buttock and right thigh – the latter injury cutting a large vein and causing extensive bleeding.

He told the jury he was "really sorry" but Brandon tried to wrestle him to the ground and "I thought I was going to be severely attacked on the floor".

Jones suggested he tried to stab the teen in the legs "as hard as I could because I was scared" and stabbed "with everything I could" to get him off.

But Nigel Power, QC, prosecuting, said: "Brandon Regan did nothing at all even to suggest that he was armed and that is because he wasn't armed.

"Steven Jones suffered no injury. He was never struck a single blow.

"He stabbed Brandon Regan with a knife four times, in his own evidence as hard as he possibly could, and the final blow in the middle of the back broke the rib…

"All of that is agreed. Self defence doesn’t even get started."

When police retrieved the scooter from an alleyway the next day, bearing Jones' DNA, they also found an axe and a meat cleaver, bearing DNA matching Gibbons.

Prosecutors said neither of these was the murder weapon, but claimed they showed everyone in the car went out with weapons, and Gibbons joined Jones in the alley.

Gibbons, of Halewood, Merseyside, questioned both this DNA evidence and mobile phone cell site data, said to place him at the murder scene.

He offered no explanation for how his DNA found its way onto the two weapons, but claimed it must have been "innocent secondary transfer".

Butterworth, of Widnes, Cheshire, accepted driving, but said the crash was accidental and he never intended anyone any harm or got out the car.

He admitted assisting an offender – going back to the scene to collect a plastic sheet – and perverting the course of justice by ordering a new grille for his Audi, using false details.

Mr Power said Jones – who bought the bike for £300 when it was originally stolen – contacted a friend of Brandon after the killing and said: "We got your boy."

He demanded £300, then rang another pal of the victim, pretending he wanted cannabis and to know where Brandon was, before claiming "he's in front of me now squirting up blood, we just caught him trying to get the moped".

When arrested, Jones and Butterworth all gave statements saying they had "nothing to do with the murder", while Gibbons did not answer any questions. Jones and Gibbons had both ditched their mobile phones.

Buckley, of Speke, was acquitted of murder just four days into the trial, after prosecutors offered no further evidence against him.

The dad-of-two said he was at home with his girlfriend all evening and the court heard mobile phone cell site data was consistent with his alibi.

He stared at detectives and grinned when the jury returned a formal not guilty verdict in his case.

Judge Alan Conrad QC said he needed to consider sentencing carefully and would pass sentence next Wednesday.

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