A 20-year-old drug-runner from London has been found guilty of murdering a Norwich man.
Hassiem Baqir, from Howberry Road in Thornton Heath, was found guilty of murdering 38-year-old Steve Stannard at Norwich Crown Court today (Thursday 18 May 2017) after a four week trial.
Steve Stannard was found dead outside his flat in Bowers Avenue on Saturday 5 November 2016. He'd been stabbed six times
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 allowing the dealing of drugs from his address.
It was during Baqir's visit that Steve was murdered.
Two days later (Monday 7 November) a knife was discovered in a bin on Gresham Road. The knife was seized and tests revealed blood on the blade belonging to Steve and a DNA profile for Baqir.
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.
Norfolk Police say they're dedicated to disrupting drug activity in Norfolk in order to stop tragedies like this being repeated.
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.
A spokesman for Steve'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.
Baqir will be sentenced at Norwich Crown Court tomorrow Friday 19 May 2017.