Two men have been found guilty of murdering a man from Westcliff in Essex.
Steven Woodhouse was stabbed in the heart at his scrapyard in Park Lane on June 2. He then staggered to his nearby home in Park Road where he collapsed in front of his pregnant girlfriend.
Bradley Johnson, 48, of Old School Court, Wraysbury, and Paul Sultana, 46, of Green Lane, Ilford, have been convicted of murder following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court. They were also convicted of robbery. Both were sentenced this afternoon with Johnson receiving 28 years in prison and Sultana 25 years.
Senior investigating officer, DCI Simon Werrett, said: "Following an altercation at his scrapyard with the defendants Steven Woodhouse received a number of injuries including a stab wound to the heart. He then staggered back to his nearby home and was tended to by both his girlfriend Nikita and members of the public who fought to keep him alive.
"The evidence has demonstrated that Johnson and Sultana intended to murder him. This was not a drugs robbery gone wrong, but a callous attack on a family man, who had everything to look forward to. The jury saw through their lies and convicted them.
"Both Johnson and Sultana have failed to admit their part in Steven’s murder and despite the forensic evidence linking them to the crime they pleaded not guilty which left the witnesses facing the ordeal of a crown court trial. They will be sentenced to long terms of imprisonment, whilst this may not bring any relief for the family, who face a future without Steven, it will bring closure for them.
"I would like to thank the family for their strength and dignity throughout a difficult trial especially where Johnson, a convicted violent criminal, unreasonably accused Nikita of lying. Hopefully, they can move on in their lives.”
Following the verdict the Woodhouse family released the following statement: "On behalf of Steven Woodhouse’s immediate family and friends, we would like to say thank you for all the support we have been given by the police, especially the family liaison officer Dc Tony Robinson. Our thanks are extended to the courts and jury for bringing the two defendants to justice. Steven was a loving and caring father; partner, brother, uncle and friend to all that knew him.
"Whilst justice has been brought in the eyes of the law there is no justice for his boys knowing they will never see their father again; no justice for his unborn son who will never ever get to see his dad. No justice for his family who had to sit through court watching the CCTV of Steven taking his last steps before collapsing or listening to the 999 calls of Steven uttering his last words.
"Now the trial has ended, we as a family can once again go back to remembering the good times we shared with Steven and remember our own special memories. Steven will never be forgotten.”