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Pair who murdered friend in a row over drugs are jailed

Jordan Shepherd (left) and Ashley White Credit: Cambs Police

Two men who stabbed their friend to death in a sustained attack have been jailed for life.

Jordan Shepherd, 24, and Ashley White, 21, lured Sam Mechelewski, 20, to a secluded wooded area of Hinchingbrooke Country Park, in Huntingdon, on 31 January 2018.

They stabbed him to the throat and neck and assaulted him with a baseball bat. Sam’s body, which was later found to have more than 20 separate injuries, was discovered by a dog walker at 1.30pm the following day.

Today (28 January) at Cambridge Crown Court they were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. White will serve a minimum of 29 years and Shepherd 28 years and six months.

Shepherd, of Mayfly Close, Chatteris, and White, of West End, Brampton, admitted being in the area close to Hinchingbrooke Country Park with Sam, but blamed each other for the murder and denied individual involvement.

Ciara Ratcliff, 22, of Sycamore Drive, Huntingdon, was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice and being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

Sam Mechelewski was described by his family as gentle, caring and loving Credit: Family picture

Cambridge Crown Court heard how Sam had been involved in drug dealing – particularly cannabis - with a notebook found at the scene linking him to both Shepherd and White.

On the day of the murder White and Shepherd were captured together on CCTV visiting Tesco, in Abbots Ripton Road, Huntingdon, where they purchased two black sweatshirts and two pairs of jogging bottoms.

At about 8pm Sam went to Sainsbury’s in Huntingdon and then visited an associate half an hour later before meeting White and Shepherd.

Between about 8.50pm and 10.30pm both White’s and Shepherd’s phones were inactive, believed to be switched off.

At about 9pm three figures matching the men’s description were captured on CCTV walking towards Hinchingbrooke Country Park.

Police near the scene in Huntingdon where Sam's body was found Credit: ITV Anglia

This was quite an extraordinary crime, motivated by the cannabis market in Huntingdon, a vicious targeted attack for reasons that remain difficult to truly comprehend.

“Jordan Shepherd and Ashley White seemed to consider themselves gangsters, and I wonder if they really appreciated the reality and the seriousness of what they were doing.

“They are dangerous young men, with the proven propensity to commit significant and devastating acts of violence. In the process they have ruined their own lives."

– Detective Chief Inspector Adam Gallop

“Sam’s death has devastated our family; no words can even come close to describing the bleak void it has created. Fresh hurdles, challenges and grief present themselves every day. The loss we feel is unending.

“We will suffer for the rest of our lives because these two men valued his life so cheaply. At some point they will regain their freedom; but Sam will never be able to return to his family.”

– Sam's family